Sports Betting in Florida gains steam as Seminole Tribe and state leaders near major gambling deal terms

Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Kit Leong

Many thought the day when Florida legalized sports gambling would never come. That day may become a reality as the Florida legislative session nears a close.

Insiders close to the situation believe a major agreement will be announced in the coming days detailing an arrangement between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida to legalize sports gambling in the state

The deal is reportedly imminent and would then be sent off for legislative and federal approval upon Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature.

State of Play

Over 20 states across the country have legalized the practice and if approved, the Sunshine State would become the largest state in the country to approve sports gambling. 

Last month, Florida Insider covered a similar story of how the momentum had shifted in Florida’s favor to get the measure approved; the main thing standing in the way of that was the terms with splitting funds with the Seminole Tribe. 

It is estimated that the legalization of sports betting in Florida would bring in an additional $150 million-plus in revenue, allowing lawmakers to balance budget sheets without cutting into healthcare, education, or infrastructure reserves. 

Hesitancy and Resistance about deal term odds

While it has yet to be confirmed that the deal will actually be made, the odds seem to point to a ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’.

But there is hesitancy by some lobbyists and legislators who believe nothing will arise.

“It’s the same rumor every session. Until I see something, I don’t believe anyone,” said Izzy Havenick, vice president of Magic City Casino. “I find it impossible to believe at this point in session that we have a deal that no one has seen.”

What are the expected terms

As it stands, people closely monitoring the talks between the state and the Seminole Tribe have reported that the Seminole Tribe would control sports betting in Florida and would offer it at their casinos as an expansion to the existing gambling alternatives. The Seminole Tribe would likely use their major Hard Rock locations in Hollywood and Tampa to drive the train. The deal would also allow the Seminole Tribe to turn their properties into baby Las Vegas-esque casinos by offering other popular games like craps and roulette.

Alternatively, sports betting would also be allowed at existing tracks, poker, and wager rooms around the state where the tribe and other operators would split the profits.

What happens if approved 

If a deal is reached as expected, the Florida Legislature will schedule a special session to address the topic. 

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