Florida gambling compact approved by Governor

A compact that will grant the Seminole Tribe the exclusive right to offer sports betting in Florida has been signed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

This comes after the bill was passed by the Senate last week following the removal of provisions that would have allowed the tribe to offer online casino gambling.

DeSantis approves compact bill

The bill, SB 2-A,  was signed into law by DeSantis on 25 May and will allow the Seminole Tribe to offer sports betting both online and in-person, or in partnership with pari-mutuel betting operators.

Under the measure, the tribe will also be permitted to offer fantasy sports contests and certain Class III games such as raffles, craps, roulette, slot machines and banked card games.

The Seminole Tribe will be required to pay 13.75% of income from players that bet through a pari-mutuel sports betting operator to the state during each revenue sharing cycle.

The amended compact which gives the Seminole Tribe exclusivity over sports betting in the state was agreed on in April. From there, the bill was sent to the legislature for further consideration and discussion.

The bill’s journey

After being sent to the legislature for consideration the measure went through several changes.

The ratification process began on 14 May when Florida Senator Travis Hutson introduced the bill to implement the compact agreement.

The bill managed to pass through the Senate on 19 May but not without several changes.

Last week, the amendment compact was approved by Two House Committees after the measure had a provision relating to online casino gambling removed from it.

Although the compact agreement focussed on sports betting, it initially included a provision that would allow the Seminole Tribe to “engage in good faith negotiations” over the next three years to potentially offer online casino gambling.

However, House Speaker Chris Sprowls said that he and other members of the House opposed the section of the agreement that could lead to online casino gambling in Florida.

Speaking during the ratification process, Sprowls said: “In my discussions with our Members, I realized many shared the same concern as I—that some language in the compact could be construed to lead to the backdoor expansion of online gaming.

“Even the mere possibility of this was unacceptable, and therefore chairman Renner, chairman Fine and I engaged directly with the Seminole Tribe on this issue.

“I appreciate the tribe and Governor DeSantis understanding the gravity of our concerns and amending the compact to remove any and all references to statewide online casino gaming.”

What happens now?

Although the measure has been signed by DeSantis there is still some work to be done before sports betting can go live in Florida.

According to the agreement, the Governor and the Tribe must now work together to present the compact agreement to the United States Secretary of the Interior for approval.

Once received, the department will have 45 days to approve the new gaming compact.

If successful, the Seminole Tribe will be able to offer sports betting in the state of Florida. In the event the compact is not approved, the original compact agreement will remain in effect.