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Florida Closing in on Sports Betting Legalization

Photo credit: Andre Tan via unsplash.com

Sports betting may soon be a reality in the state of Florida. The Seminole Tribe and Governor Ron DeSantis have reached an agreement on a new gaming compact. The deal was officially announced on Friday. This was after weeks of heated discussions.

Florida would become the most populous state in the U.S. to offer sports betting. The Seminole Tribe were initially opposed to sports betting talks. But, Governor DeSantis was eventually able to negotiate a new deal.

Senator Wilton Simpson was one of the first officials to confirm this new gaming compact. He declared, “State-wide online sports betting in partnership with the pari-mutuels.” The new gaming compact is a 30-year agreement. The Seminole Tribe will be paying the state between $500-$600 million a year.

The entire sports betting industry will run through the Seminole Tribe. After all, they will be getting a large percentage of the revenue. Casinos run by the Seminole Tribe will offer sports betting. However, it is not immediately clear if other betting skins would be available.

There are still important facts from this new gaming compact that have not yet been revealed. Nonetheless, the Miami Herald was able to uncover some information. According to a report, pari-mutuel facilities in the state could offer sports betting on-site.

Pressure to Get Bill Passed

It became clear a few weeks ago that DeSantis and the Seminoles were reaching a consensus on sports betting. But, it was unclear if they would take action in 2021. Now that a new gaming compact has been agreed upon, lawmakers are on the clock, and little time remains. 

The legislative session will end on April 30. The budget proposal must be complete by April 27. This is a severe time crunch. Worse enough, it doesn’t appear that voting will happen before the end of next week.

According to the Miami Herald, the House of Representatives has no interest in making rash decisions on this new compact. Speaker Chris Sprowls made it clear that a special session in May is a more probable time of approval than next week.

Even if it takes longer than what DeSantis hopes for, Florida sports betting is coming. Florida could become one of the biggest markets in the United States, especially in the Southeast portion of the country.

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