Feds Give Green Light to Florida and Seminole Compact Deal

Feds Give Green Light to Florida and Seminole Compact Deal

On Friday, the federal officials approved the new compact deal between Florida and the Seminole Tribe. The compact allows the Seminole Tribe to add craps and roulette to the list of casino games it offers, plus run sports betting across its seven casinos.

Florida, through its governor, created the deal last Spring. It was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Most of the members in the two houses are republicans, which explains why the compact was quickly approved.

Before the compact is practical, it had to be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The department is responsible for tribal gaming operations.

The governor voiced his gratitude for the approval saying it is a historic gaming compact. He noted that the deal would benefit both the state and the Seminole Tribe.

Governor Ron DeSantis said that the agreement would propel the state’s economy and expand the tourism sector. He added that the deal would recreate billions in revenue and thousands of jobs.

The Biggest Compact in the History of the U.S. Gambling Industry

The deal between Florida and the Seminole Tribe is probably the most expansive in the U.S. The two bodies predict to generate a revenue of about $6 billion over the next ten years.

Seminole was even guaranteed to generate a minimum of $2.5 billion in the first five years. Also, over 2000 jobs will be up for grabs for Floridians.

In 2018, the Supreme Court outlawed a federal law restricting states from legalizing sports betting. Thus, Florida’s deal with the Seminole only gave the tribe the right to offer blackjack and slot machines in exchange for billions of tax revenue. The payment stopped in 2019.

The new compact allows the Seminole Tribe to offer legal sports betting. It also protects pari-mutuel operations.
Pari-mutuels will keep 60 percent of the revenue generated from sports betting they offer through the tribe. Forty percent will go to the tribe. Then, the tribe will take 14 percent of its net winnings and pay to the state.

The Seminole is predicted to start offering sports wagering from October 15, 2021. It will also offer online sports wagering.

It Is Not Over Yet

From a legislative perspective, federal approval has pushed the compact to the finish line. But, the state and the Seminole still have a long way to go thanks to legal challenges facing their deal.

The first legal challenge arrives in July. The Southwest Parimutuels filed a lawsuit against the governor to block the new deal. Through its owner, Magic City Casino, and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp, the Parimutuels filed a lawsuit claiming that the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act prohibits betting outside the tribal land. The Southwest Parimutuels explained that having servers in tribal land was not enough for the tribe to offer online gambling outside its land.
The filed suit is not blocking sports wagering. But, it disagrees with mobile wagering.

FanDuel and DraftKings have also raised concerns. While the tribe has to partner with three parimutuel venues to offer sports betting, the compact also allows the tribe to process sports betting over its servers. According to the top two sportsbooks, this creates a monopoly.

For now, it’s a success for the state and the Seminole Tribe. Only time will tell if the mood will remain celebratory for the two.


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