Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and the Seminole Tribe have signed a historic gaming compact on April 23, paving the way for legal sports betting in the country.
Before the compact can be written into law, it will need to be ratified through the legislature and approved in DC while conforming to Florida’s law. A special session has been scheduled for May 17 to further discuss the compact and the gambling bills that need to be ratified before sports betting can be fully legalized in Florida.
The agreement comes after weeks of difficult talks between the government and the tribe, which was initially entirely uninterested in cooperating with the state. Per the agreement, Seminole Tribe will be running the entire sports-betting industry and getting a large percentage of its revenue. In return, the proposed 30-year deal will see Florida taking between $500-$600 million from the tribe per year.
Despite the promising start, several legal issues still need to be resolved before Florida can become one of the largest betting markets in the US. For starters, sports betting needs to be adequately legalized. There is also the matter of online and mobile betting to consider. The compact allows for sports-betting operations beyond tribal territory by considering them performed wherever the servers – rather than the players – are located.
Finally, the compact covers historical horse-racing machines, designated player games, and other agreements unrelated to sports betting. At the same time, the existing commercial pari-mutuel operators (which operate card rooms and slot machines in the state) have not been able to have a say in the matter so far.
It is also unclear whether other betting skins will be available or if the Seminole Tribe will get a complete stranglehold on the state’s new legal sports-betting market. According to Miami Herald, pari-mutuel operators will get the option to offer on-site sports betting, but we will have to wait for the official legislation to see how things pan out.
The legislative session will end on April 30, and the budget proposal must be completed by April 27, at which point we’ll have a much clearer idea about the future of sports betting in Florida.