Gov. DeSantis, Seminole Tribe reach deal to bring online sports betting to Florida

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After months of negotiations, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida have agreed on an updated gaming compact that would bring legalized online sports betting to Florida, the governor announced Friday.

DeSantis said the 30-year deal will generate the state a minimum of $2.5 billion in new revenue over the next five years and an estimated $6 billion through 2030.

A memo from Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson did not give specifics, but said the updated gaming compact would rewrite Florida’s gambling laws allowing the Seminole Tribe to offer online sports betting, craps and Roulette at the Tribe and the state’s para-mutuel businesses, which include horse racing tracks, jai-alai arenas, and other sporting venues. It also allows the tribe to build more facilities on existing property.

“This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism, and recreation, and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for the benefit of all Floridians and Seminoles alike,” DeSantis said. “Our agreement establishes the framework to generate billions in new revenue and untold waves of positive economic impact. I would like to thank Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr., Senate President Wilton Simpson, and House Speaker Chris Sprowls for their collective commitment to modernizing the gaming industry in the state of Florida and setting the bar for the rest of the nation.” 

In order to take effect, the deal will need to be approved by the Florida Legislature. Lawmakers will likely take up the issue when they convene for a special session starting on May 17.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is committed to a mutually-beneficial gaming compact with the State of Florida and looks forward to its approval by the Florida Legislature, the Seminole Tribal Council and the U.S. Department of the Interior,” said Marcellus Osceola Jr., Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “The Tribe wants to express our sincere thanks to Governor DeSantis, Senate President Simpson, House Speaker Sprowls and many others who have worked hard to negotiate a historic agreement that cements our partnership with the state for decades to come.”

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