Florida Signs Massive $2.5 Billion Gambling Deal
Florida recently signed the largest tribal casino revenue share deal in America with the Seminole tribe. The new deal was signed by lawmakers in Tallahassee and has legalized sports betting in the process. A special session was called to order to consider the new deal, worth $2.5 Billion.
Gambling Deal Passes Easily
The Senate had already passed the compact by 38-1, but the House needed to approve as well. This passed easily, with a vote of 97-17. The $2.5 Billion compact with the Seminole Tribe will run for the next 30 years. According to the new compact, the Seminole Tribe will be able to exclusively offer mobile sports betting, craps, and roulette.
Until now, now of these had been legal in the state of Florida. In addition to the legalization of mobile sports betting, craps, and roulette, the Tribe has also been given the go-ahead to build three new casinos on their reservation in Hollywood, Southeast Florida. Mobile sports betting will be offered to residents via apps offered by the Seminole Tribe.
Seminole Agrees to Concessions
This new gambling deal is obviously a massive win for the Seminole Tribe. However, they did agree to one big concession. The Tribe has agreed to officially withdraw any objections to player-designated games offered by Florida’s racetracks, jai-alai frontons, and racinos. These games mimic games like Blackjack, which the Seminole Tribe had the rights to offer exclusively.
This concession puts an end to five years of failed talks on legal battles between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe. While the House has approved the gambling deal, it still has to be signed off by the federal government. While unlikely, there is still a chance the federal government might still object.
Not Out of The Woods
While the Federal Government could object, there are also legal challenges expected soon. It is believed many anti-gambling lobbies are currently preparing lawsuits to challenge the new gambling deal. The anti-gambling groups are saying the new deal violates Amendment 3 of the state’s constitution.
This amendment requires voter’s approval to permit any casino or gambling expansion in the state. However, proponents of the deal will likely argue that if the expansion happens on Seminole reservations, it is outside Florida’s jurisdiction. Another question that needs to be answered is whether sports betting counts as ‘casino gambling’, which is specifically what Amendment 3 speaks about.