US authorities approve Florida-Seminole sports betting deal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Federal officials on Friday approved a deal that will allow the Seminole tribe to operate sports betting and add roulette and craps to its seven Florida casinos, with the state potentially receiving $ 20 billion dollars over the next 30 years.
Governor Ron DeSantis crafted the Tribe Gaming Pact last spring, and it was subsequently approved by the Republicans-controlled Florida House and Senate. The deal was to be finalized by the US Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations.
“The final approval of this landmark gaming contract is a big deal for the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement. “This mutually beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation, and generate billions in new income for the benefit of Floridians.”
Officials said the deal would generate around $ 6 billion through 2030. The tribe currently does not pay any income to the state.
“Today is a big day for the people of Florida, who will benefit not only from a five-year, $ 2.5 billion revenue sharing guarantee, but also from sports betting nationwide. State and new casino games that roll out this fall that will mean more jobs for Floridians and more money invested in this state, ”said Florida Seminole Tribe President Marcellus Osceola Jr. in a statement.
Under the deal, the Seminoles could start sports betting on October 15 and sports betting on racetracks, jai alai pediments and old dog tracks for a share of the revenue. Online sports betting managed by the tribe will also be allowed.
Democrats opposed to the deal argued that the pact violated Amendment 3 passed by voters in Florida in 2018. The state constitution amendment prevents the expansion of gambling outside of tribal lands without l approval of voters.
In 2018, the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting states from allowing sports betting. Florida’s original contract with the Seminoles gave the tribe exclusive rights to slots and blackjack. In return, the tribe paid the state several billion dollars. Payments ceased in 2019.
The Associated Press