Florida Sports Betting Talks Stall After Latest Compact Is Rejected by Seminole Tribe
A gaming compact that would bring Seminole Tribe controlled sports betting to Florida and a new casino to Miami Beach, plus millions of dollars in annual payments to the state from the tribe, was rejected earlier this week, leaving the Sunshine State at an impasse moving forward.
As reported by Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald, a proposal to bring a hub and spokes sports betting system to Seminole Tribe casinos and a new Miami Beach casino permit for real estate mogul Jeffrey Soffer was rejected by the tribe earlier this week.
Neither the Seminole Tribe or parimutuels could reach an agreement on a sports betting revenue share in the compact.
With time running out on Florida’s legislative session, which ends on April 30, is the clock ticking down on the chances for the state to finally come to an agreement on sports betting?
Proposed Compact Didn’t Call for a Full-blown Florida Online Sports Betting
The rejected compact included a deal for the Seminole Tribe to control sports betting in the state through a hub and spokes system, not a full-blown online sports betting system.
Sports bets would be received and processed through servers located at tribal casinos, allowing gamblers to place bets at casinos or professional sports events, race tracks or poker rooms. Professional sports franchises would have had the opportunity to open in-facility sportsbooks for gamblers.
The agreement called for professional sport franchises and parimutuels to receive a cut of the sports betting revenue driven through these bets.
Included in the proposed compact was an agreement that the Seminole Tribe would not oppose a new casino in Miami Beach. The deal called for Soffer to transfer his casino license for Big Easy Casino in Hallandale Beach to his Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
Miami-Dade and Miami Beach county officials have long opposed the idea of a new casino in their county while Gov. Ron DeSantis has firmly approved of the transfer.
As part of the agreement for the casino license transfer, exclusive rights were offered to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to operate craps and roulette at each of the tribe’s seven casinos and a sports betting hub for booking agents. Under the proposal, the Seminole Tribe would also be allowed to add up to three new casinos on existing tribal property.
Despite discussions and the proposed compact, an agreement on revenue sharing could not be reached. Both state and tribe officials have confirmed that negotiations are still ongoing, Klas noted.
The Future of Florida Sports Betting
The rejected compact comes just days after gambling industry insider Chris Grove expressed his optimism that a sports betting bill may indeed see the light of day before the month is out.
Word from key stakeholders is that we may see a sports betting bill emerge in Florida before month’s end.
That’s despite sports betting’s absence from last week’s gambling bills in Florida.
— Chris Grove (@OPReport) April 12, 2021
Last week, the Florida Senate introduced several pieces of legislation that did not include legalized sports betting.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported three bills were introduced last week, none of which included the legalization of sports betting or the transference of a casino license.