The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a compact agreement, adding several new options to the operations the tribe is able to offer in the state. On Monday, it was announced that a provision allowing the tribe to offer online casino games has now been removed. A one-page addendum was signed by Marcellus Osceola, Jr., the tribal chair, and the governor to remove the requirement.
More Gambling Bills on the Table
As the addendum was signed within the compact, state lawmakers were busy taking part in a three-day session involving not one or two new gambling bills, but 13. Among the decisions to be made by lawmakers is to approve the provisions of the 30-year tribal agreement.
The amendment made this week does not include sports betting, so the tribe would be able to offer this service based on the compact language. The tribe could offer land-based sports betting outlets as well as online options. The servers of the online sports betting operations must be located on reservation land.
With this covet, players located anywhere in the state can place a sports bet on the digital platform of the tribe. It is expected that if all the approvals are provided, the sports betting services will be live by October.
With the special session yesterday, lawmakers met to discuss the details of the tribal compact. It is expected that the session will continue through tomorrow and possibly into the end of the week. Representative and House Speaker Chris Sprowls said that some of the language in the compact might make it easy for online gaming to be expanded via backdoor means. This possibility is unacceptable.
According to Sprowls, the new amendment removes any language about online casino gaming. Those in opposition to this option are appreciative of the tribe and the governor for making the change.
What’s in the Agreement?
The agreement still allows for the Seminoles to add roulette and craps to their casinos. This will expand the tribe’s offering beyond the game of blackjack. And as mentioned, the tribe will be able to provide sports betting both online and in a retail setting.
To be able to do this, the tribe must pay $500 million or more per year for the first five years of the new agreement. A portion of the sports betting and gaming revenues must also be provided to the state. As with any gambling legislative change, there is opposition.
A group called No Casinos have been heavily promoting what they feel to be the negative side of the compact. The anti-gambling group feels that a constitutional amendment is required to add any new gaming options in the state. Back in 2018, a constitutional amendment was approved by voters in the state to see that no gambling changes were made unless voters have their say.
The group says that the compact is in violation of this amendment if there is no statewide referendum held for the voters. Lawmakers and the tribe say that this is not true since the sports betting servers will be located on reservation lands.