Seminole Tribe And Florida Are Moving Towards Sports Betting Agreement

  • The new compact between Seminole Tribe and Florida is being discussed.
  • Seminole Tribe might be willing to give up some gambling exclusivity rights.
  • No ETA for when sports betting action could happen in Florida yet.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida and the Seminole Tribe are having discussions about sports betting and the compact between the two entities.

Proper Discussions Are Happening

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had met with several representatives of the Seminole Tribe to discuss sports betting. The Seminole is now showing interest in having sportsbooks open around the state.

The main reason why DeSantis and other lawmakers are able to talk to the Seminole Tribe is that the compact agreement between the state and the tribe is about to end. Through this agreement, the Seminole Tribe has contributed over $350 million to the state’s budget.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, discussions were held not only with the Seminole Tribe, but pari-mutuel stakeholders were in the meeting as well. This marked an end of the Tribe not wanting to have anyone else in the discussions due to exclusivity rights.

A 31 Year Deal

A new compact has been proposed between Florida and the Seminole Tribe and it would last 31 years. The deal allows for the doors to be open for sports betting not only in the tribal casinos but in Florida racetracks as well. This is a huge change in attitude because the tribe has sued the racetracks back in 2010 over banked card games because the racetracks violated the Tribe’s exclusivity rights. Prop bets and sports arenas are also in the mix as well.

The key to all of this is that the Seminole Tribe will act as the “hub” for all sports betting. The reason they would act as the hub is that Amendment 3 was passed last fall. Amendment 3 made sure that all gambling expansions in Florida have to go through the voters first before they could happen.

This amendment was actually backed by the Seminole Tribe when it was being considered. The Tribe spent over $24 million to make sure that the bill passed because of the fact that the Seminole Tribe is unaffected by Amendment 3. This further their stronghold of having exclusive rights to many gambling operations in Florida.

People Want Sports Betting To Be Voted On

If Seminole Tribe is willing to act as the hub for sports betting in Florida, then lawmakers believe they could go around having a statewide referendum on sports betting. This does not sit well with different advocacy groups.

The No Casinos in Florida Group has sent a letter to Senate President Bill Galvano saying that they are opposed to any gambling expansion in Florida. The Voters in Charge group has also stated in the past that because of Amendment 3, only Florida voters have the power to allow casino expansion. This includes sports betting.

There is no estimated time for when sports betting could happen in Florida, but it is unlikely to happen this year. Florida’s legislative session ends on Friday and no deal has been formally agreed upon. But the Seminole Tribe has shown to be more open about the subject which means the future of sports betting is brighter than ever for the Sunshine State.

All that said, do not make the mistake that jai alai is some sort of hugely sought-after bettor’s dream. It isn’t. The general consensus is that, like the dogs, nobody really cares about it, and the game is only attractive to casinos and tracks as a much cheaper pari-mutuel alternative to dog racing, costing far less to host and maintain. If businesses and bettors had their ways, jai alai probably wouldn’t even exist anymore. But until the pari-mutuel aspect of Florida dog tracks is no longer a government prerequisite to operate a gambling site in the state, expect a continued push to replace the muzzled critters with the cheaper alternative for sportsbetting in Florida.

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