In the southern American state of Florida and local lawmakers have reportedly overwhelmingly approved proposed legislation that would legalize land-based sportsbetting and authorize the building of up to three new tribal casinos.
According to a report from the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, these are just a few of the measures contained within a new gaming compact approved yesterday by legislators with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The 30-year proposal would also purportedly give the federally-recognized tribe an inaugural monopoly on roulette and craps while allowing established parimutuel license holders to relocate their operations.
The newspaper reported that the proposed gaming compact was approved by the Florida House of Representatives via a vote of 97 to 17 before being passed by the Florida State Senate by an even more convincing 38-to-one margin. The legislation is now purportedly headed to the desk of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and could allow the Seminole Tribe of Florida to launch legalized sportsbetting across ‘The Sunshine State’ from as soon as October 15.
The Sun-Sentinel reported that the proposed gaming compact would however not authorize any form of online or mobile gaming and only permit existing parimutuel firms to move to locations that were a minimum of 15 miles from the casinos run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida in Broward County and Miami-Dade County. Nevertheless, DeSantis is purportedly expected to sign the measure in hopes of being able to bring in up to $500 million in new gaming tax revenues every year.
The newspaper reported that the proposed gaming compact has been designed to replace a 2010 deal that gave the Seminole Tribe of Florida a statewide monopoly on ‘banked’ casino games such as blackjack. This revenue-sharing alliance had purportedly brought in around $350 million for the state’s coffers annually but was terminated in 2019 over a disagreement related to the intended scope of the tribe’s domination.
DeSantis reportedly told the newspaper…
“The breakdown of the 2010 compact has denied the state of Florida any revenue derived from the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s ongoing gaming operations including what is the most profitable casino in the United States located in Hillsborough County. This changes today and with this new compact the state will now see a large stream of reoccurring revenues to the tune of billions of dollars over the next few years.”
For its part and local television broadcaster WJXT-TV reported that the new gaming compact additionally needs to be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, DC, but would allow the Seminole Tribe of Florida to run sportsbooks inside its own casinos as well as at local horseracing facilities, jai-alai frontons and former dog tracks. Such a proposition could purportedly benefit Florida to the tune of approximately $6 billion by the end of the decade in hopes of being able to help the state alleviate its growing $66 billion budget deficit.