Florida is VERY close to a deal that would jump-start sports betting in the state as soon as this year.

According to multiple reports starting with POLITICO who had it first the state of Florida and leaders of the Seminole Indian Tribe have an agreement in principle to move forward on sports betting in the Sunshine State as soon as later this year.

This from POLITICO;

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been personally involved in the negotiations with the tribe during the last few weeks. If the deal goes through as anticipated — and is approved by the Florida Legislature during a yet-to-be-announced special session — it would mark a major achievement for DeSantis. His predecessor, Gov. Rick Scott, was unable to piece together a broader gaming pact.

Some sources with direct awareness of the talks contend a final deal has been reached, although one cautioned that no deal had been reached but that “it’s as close as it has ever been.” One well-informed gambling lobbyist said the deal was concluded but that DeSantis and his lawyers were carefully going over the wording before announcing it.

Meredith Beatrice, a spokesperson for DeSantis, said on Wednesday that she had no information on the topic.

For years, gambling interests in the Sunshine State have waged both a public and shadow effort to retool the state’s arcane laws and overcome decades of opposition to wide-open gambling in the tourist mecca.

The Seminoles won approval to offer blackjack and slot machines on their reservations more than a decade ago — but since that time have stopped making payments to the state amid finger-pointing about how Florida was regulating tracks that also offer limited forms of gambling.

Scott tried to negotiate a new deal on several occasions, but it fell apart amid legislative resistance. This year, Senate President Wilton Simpson took the lead on negotiations with the Seminole Tribe, but in the last several weeks DeSantis got directly involved to bring it to a conclusion.

Katie Betta, a spokesperson for Simpson, said “to our knowledge, negotiations are ongoing.”

The broad parameters of the deal — as confirmed by multiple sources — are that the Seminole Tribe would control sports betting in the state and would offer it at their casinos, including the Hard Rock locations in Hollywood and Tampa. But sports betting would also be allowed at existing tracks and other poker rooms around the state where the tribe and other gambling operators would split the revenue generated.

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