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Florida Sports Betting Close To Reality As Governor, Seminole Sign New Compact

Florida sports betting is closer than ever before after a deal announced Friday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe signed a new gaming compact that would bring mobile Florida sports betting to the Sunshine State

The new compact must still be approved by the legislature and the federal government, and could face legal challenges. However, it marks a major breakthrough in the third-largest market in the US.

What we know about new Florida gaming compact

A memo from Florida Senator Wilton Simpson confirmed the signing of the 30-year compact.

Simpson said the new compact covered: “State-wide online sports betting in partnership with the pari-mutuels.” The definition of that remains unclear.

The exact nature of the FL sports betting market in terms of skins and tax rate is still vague. However, there could be multiple skins available, with the Seminole Tribe taking a cut of each bet.

A Miami Herald report said pari-mutuel operators could run mobile sports betting sites in exchange for giving 55% of revenue to the tribe. There are 35 pari-mutuel operators in the state. Could they be potential partners for sports betting firms? Of course, a 55% revenue share does not leave much room for profitability.

Simpson said in his memo to Senators:

“Today, after months of negotiations, Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida executed a historic new thirty year gaming Compact that restores the State’s relationship with the Tribe, preserves and offers new opportunities for Florida’s legacy pari-mutuel industry, and provides substantial new revenues for the State of Florida.”

What’s next for Florida sports betting?

Simpson said the new compact would bring in $6 billion in new revenue for the state through 2030.

Of course, that includes a host of other gaming payments, not just FL sports betting. 

The Florida legislature must now approve the compact. That could take place in a special session that would run through May, as the state’s regular session has only a few days left.

Simpson said other gaming bills would also be discussed in the special session to “address the future of gaming in a more comprehensive manner”.

  •  Senate Bill 7076 would create a five-member Gaming Control Commission.
  • Senate Bill 7080 decouples gaming licenses. Pari-mutuel and cardroom licensees would no longer need to offer harness racing, quarter-horse racing or jai alai.

The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that a deal was largely done in principle. The prospect of some form of mobile sports betting in Florida could prove a major boost to other states facing challenges involving tribal gaming.

4.23.21 2021 Gaming Compact

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