Florida lawmakers have ratified a gaming compact signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe that will see the launch of sports betting, roulette, and craps at its casinos within the state. SB 2-A will run for 30 years in what some representatives call a monopoly on sports betting for the Seminole Tribe.
The legislation passed through the state senate by a vote of 38-1 before a house vote on Wednesday saw the final ratification of the bill by a landslide of 97-17.
The legislation was approved despite many fears over its length and the payout to the state.
Rep. Omari Hardy, D-Palm Beach was one of many who spoke against the speed with which the deal was agreed saying:
“This deal feels like we came to the table with the Seminoles from a position of desperation.”
The Seminole Tribe had stopped paying the state its required $350 million per year back in 2019 claiming that the state had violated the previous compact. However, the new compact will guarantee that the tribe must pay a fixed amount of $500 million each year for the first five years or lose its license. Further payments could see the state net as much as $20 billion over the next three decades.
Speaking of the new compact, Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast said:
“In the old compact, what we did was there were rules in place that breached what our compact was. So that’s why we also set up a gaming commission to oversee the rules and set policy. And the gaming commission has to look at the confines of the compact, so they can’t set a policy that’s in conflict with the compact.”
The legislation is now in the hands of the Gov. DeSantis and there’s little doubt that he will sign it into law as soon as possible – finally bringing legal sportsbetting to Florida.
Image credit: Valerie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0