Florida Governor DeSantis Finally Signs Sports Betting Deal With the Seminoles

This week, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed the gaming compact he worked out with the Seminole Tribe after the Florida House and Senate have approved it last week. Based on this compact, the Seminole Tribe will be able to operate local sports betting and add roulette and craps to their casinos.

Florida won’t be the first state with a governor who signed a sports betting bill. Since May 2018, there have already been around 20 states with legal sports betting. It was during that time when the Supreme Court of the United States has stricken down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which made sports betting federally illegal.

Since then, each state in the US is free to decide on legalizing and regulating local sports betting operations. Today, many Americans are now enjoying the services of the best sites for sports betting. In no time, Florida people should also be able to do so.

What The Seminole Compact Includes

Initially, the compact included clauses on not only sports betting but also Daily Fantasy Sports and online casino gaming. However, the final bill only mentions sports betting as the Senate Appropriations Committee was quick to remove the clauses on online casino gaming. DFS operators also fought back against the part that involved them on the bill.

Online sports betting will be allowed in the state as long as it will also be operated by the Seminole Tribe. If things go smooth after the governor’s signature, the state should be able to have live sports betting by October 15.

Based on the compact, the Seminoles should share nearly 14 percent of the total revenues that they get from gambling activities with the state. However, this is only if specific conditions will be met. The condition includes the Seminole Tribe partnering up with at least one pari-mutuel operator in the states within the next three months of the launch.

Aside from roulette and craps, the compact also allows sports wagering at horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons. A harness racing track in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will also be allowed to keep operating slots and card rooms without any live events.

The pari-mutuels will also be allowed to continue to operate card rooms without live events. There is an exception, however, of thoroughbred horse tracks. They should be able to hold or facilitate live racing.

The original compact with the Seminoles didn’t have all that. It only gave the Seminoles the exclusive rights to have slot machines and facilitate blackjack games in their casinos. The tribe had to pay several billion dollars for that but the payments stopped in 2019.

There was also a bill signed this week that will allow the creation of a gaming commission to regulate the pari-mutuel operators in the state and to investigate the local illegal gambling activities. This commission will be made up of five members that will be appointed by the governor himself.

So Now What?

Typically, once a governor signs a sports betting bill in any state, sports betting will then be rolled out. However, this will not be the case for the state of Florida because the bill that DeSantis signed will still have to be taken to the US Department of Interior.

The Department of Interior will still have to review and approve the signed compact. Once this is already forwarded to them, there will be a 45-day window for the approval to be completed. However, there is still no guarantee that the compact will be approved. Everyone will still have to wait for the decision of this department.

Still, even if the Department of Interior approves this compact, the state is expecting some issues to arise including legal problems or lawsuits. Critics of Florida sports betting believe that the new compact violates the terms of Amendment 3.

House Representative Michael Greico is one of the few ones thinking that sports betting in the state won’t be ready by the end of this year because of the possible challenges. He said, “We’re going to be in court, we’re going to lose, and we’re going to see this on the ballot.”

However, there are also representatives who believe that the compact will hold up in court. For now, we just really have to wait for the approval of the Department of Interior as it oversees tribal gambling operations. No groups announced just yet that they will be challenging the compact in court. If things go smoothly, the locals should be able to place their bets within Florida just in time for the NFL season.