The state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe have agreed to a new gaming compact that will allow the tribe to expand its gaming options at its casinos and bring sports betting to the Sunshine State.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the tribe have an agreement in place that would generate at least $2.5 billion for the state government over the next five years, while allowing the Seminoles to function as the hub for the state’s new sports betting operation.
The compact could be signed as early as this Friday, according to the Lakeland Ledger.
The Seminole Tribe, which owns and operates the only seven casinos in the state, would not only be allowed to operate both retail and online sports betting in Florida, but also receive a piece of the revenue generated from licensed pari-mutuel facilities that choose to open a sportsbook. Under the pending agreement, pari-mutuels would operate under a contract with the tribe that would give the Seminoles 40% of the revenue generated from those facilities.
Of that 40%, the tribe would give the state 10% and keep the other 30%. It would pay the state 13.75% on any revenue generated from its own sportsbooks. The Seminole Tribe will need to partner with at least three pari-mutuels during the first three months of sports betting or their payment to the state would be increased by 2%.
For the first five years of what will likely be a 30-year revenue sharing agreement, the Seminoles will pay the state $500 million annually.
In return, the pari-mutuel facilities would be allowed to continue operating the “designated player” card games it had been operating for several years. These games were a contentious point during the negotiations for a new gaming compact.
The Seminoles threatened to stop making payments to the state a few years ago over these games. They argued that the previous compact was breached when the state allowed pari-mutuels to offer those games. The compact, which was created in 2010, gave exclusivity to the tribe to offer non-poker card games. In 2016, a federal judge agreed with the tribe and ruled that it did violate the agreement in place at the time.
Since the pari-mutuels will be allowed to continue offering the non-poker card games, the new compact will allow the tribe to offer traditional craps and roulette games. Currently, there are only machine versions of those games since the agreement only allowed the casinos to have card games and slot machines at the Seminole casinos.
This new compact could be the starting point of a massive overhaul of the state’s gaming landscape. There are already two gambling bills circulating through the legislature that would create the first gaming commission in state history and to allow tracks to continue to offer gambling without live races.