Florida sports betting compact approved by Department of the Interior

News  /  Published 09 Aug 2021  / 

A compact agreement that would allow sports betting in Florida through the Seminole Tribe – including statewide mobile sports betting – has been approved by the federal Department of the Interior.

In becoming law, the compact would allow sports betting exclusively through the Tribe online and in its class III gaming facilities.

It would also allow the introduction of new games, such as dice games, roulette and fantasy sports contests, at the tribe’s Hard Rock-branded casinos.

After receiving the compact, the Department of the Interior had 45 days to approve or disapprove it. As the Department took no action in that period, the compact is considered approved.

The compact will become law upon its publication in the Federal Register.

Due to the approval of the compact, the Tribe will be allowed to enter partnerships with pari-mutuel betting operators to offer sports betting in the state. However, the Tribe must also pay 13.75% in sports betting revenue from players who bet using the pari-mutuel sports betting operators.

The compact was passed to the Department of the Interior after a bill to approve it was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in May.

The compact has proved controversial, however, mostly due to questions over the constitutionality of allowing bets to be placed statewide in what is referred to as a “hub-and-spoke” model by the Tribe.

Under Amendment 3 of Florida’s constitution, any casino gambling that takes place outside tribal property must be approved by a referendum.

The compact outlines that all servers that take bets must be located in tribal casinos, which the Tribe says should ensure that a referendum is not required.

While some lawmakers raised questions over this part of the bill, the subcommittee passed the compact by a 13-4 vote, while the House agreed to pass it with an 18-1 vote. The compact could still potentially be subject to a legal challenge, however.

In addition, the bill approving the compact it was only passed by the House committees after an amendment that removed a clause addressing online casino gaming. In its initial version, the Tribe would be permitted to begin within the next three years to allow the tribe to offer online casino gaming. However, after opposition from lawmakers, this was removed.

The compact was first introduced by Senator Travis Hutson in May after it was approved by Governor DeSantis in April.

 

Source: iGB North America