August 7, 2021 Sports Betting, Casino, Tribal, Lottery

Seminole gaming compact with Florida receives federal approval

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The Seminole Tribe’s new gaming compact with the state of Florida has received approval from the US Department of Interior for Indian Affairs, the last regulatory step before the tribe can launch sports betting this fall.

The Seminoles and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (pictured) negotiated a new compact this spring that allows the tribe to operate sports betting and add roulette to casinos in the Sunshine State. The deal could net the state as much as $20bn in revenue over the next 30 years.

The Seminoles will be allowed to offer retail and online sports betting October 15.

"Today is a great day for the people of Florida, who will benefit not only from a $2.5 billion revenue sharing guarantee over five years, but also from statewide sports betting and new casino games that will roll out this fall and mean more jobs for Floridians and more money invested in this state,'' Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. said.

The Department of Interior took no action to approve or disapprove the compact, according to Bryan Newland, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Interior for Indian Affairs. After 45 days with no action, a compact is considered approved.

“The final approval of this historic gaming compact is a big deal for the State of Florida,” DeSantis said. “This mutually-beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians.”

The compact faced resistance from No Casinos, a group who opposes the expansion of Las Vegas style gaming in Florida. No Casinos president John Sowinski argued that the compact is illegal according to constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2018. Amendment 3 states casino gaming expansion in Florida requires authorization from voters.

 “The 2018 constitutional mandate of 72% of Florida voters could not be clearer,” Sowinski said. “Only Florida voters, not politicians in Tallahassee or Washington, have the power to expand gambling in Florida.  This issue will have its day in both State and Federal Courts, where we are confident that this compact will be overturned.”

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