It seems like the hopes of legalizing online gambling in Florida have been dashed. According to House Speaker Chris Sprowls, the state will no longer pursue online casino gaming. The state of Florida had earlier planned a Compact with the Seminole Tribe.
For most gambling enthusiasts in Florida, the announcement did not go down well. It seemed like so many lawmakers had a similar concern, according to Sprowls. He added that most lawmakers saw the move constructed to lead the expansion of online gaming through the backdoor.
Somehow, there may be a glimpse of a future deal even though the Compact with Seminole Tribe was stalled.
Highlights of the Seminole Tribe and Florida Compact
It was expected that the Compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe would help improve the gaming industry in the state. Legalizing online casinos was just a small part of the Compact. However, after a careful review by lawmakers, it seemed like online casino gaming would close down land-based casino operations. According to Randy Fine, a sole issue the Compact didn’t scale through was because both parties disagreed on issues relating to online gambling. Randy Fine is a Brevard County Republican Representative.
The 75-page document hoped to achieve the following:
- Give the Tribe the right to oversee sports betting
- Splitting of revenue between the state and the Tribe would be 60 and 40 percent
- The Seminole Tribe can enter into a contract with other online platforms
- The state was expected to receive $6 as revenue in 5 years
However, as good as the Compact had seemed, the issue of online casino gaming halted the deal. Whether both parties will review it in the future remains unknown.
The Seminole Tribe: Who Are They?
The Seminole Tribe in Florida is a tribal government that possesses sovereign powers and the right to self-governance. More so, their rights are recognized by the federal government. Furthermore, the right of the Seminole Tribe includes the right to regulate activities within their territory, whether on land or sea. In that regard, The Seminole Tribe has the right to control gaming activities following the negotiated tribal-state Compact.
Based on that, the Seminole Tribe operates various land-based casinos with their territory. In addition, the Seminole Tribe are native Indians, and the Supreme Court has given them the right to self-governance in any state in the US. This right is further enshrined in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 United States federal law.
Some of the casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida are:
- Casino Coconut Creek
- Classic Casino
- Casino Hotel Immokalee
- Casino Brighton
The Seminole Tribe in Florida opened its first bingo hall and casino in 1979. From then till now, the Seminole Tribe has acquired more gaming enterprises. Assuming the Compact with the state of Florida had sailed through, it would have been another milestone for the Seminole Tribe.
Overview of the Gambling Industry in Florida
Florida offers numerous land-based gambling options. In other words, gaming at a land-based casino is legal in Florida. According to the American Gaming Association, the number of land-based casinos in the state is 15. Not to mention, the gross gaming revenue of all the casinos in 2020 was $3.14 billion.
Consequently, only gamblers that are 21 years above are allowed to gamble at their land-based casinos. Also, sports betting is not legal in Florida. The land-based casinos in Florida are:
- 6 Native American tribal casinos
- Casino boats
- 8 pari-mutuel casinos
Also, most of the games offered by Florida casinos are:
- Three card poker
- Let it ride
- Pai gow poker
The Future of Online Gaming in Florida
No doubt, most online punters hoped that the deal with Seminole had scaled through. However, the future of online gaming still seemed bright until the agreement with the Seminole Tribe hit the rocks. And since the deal didn’t go through, legalizing online casinos in the state will take a while.
Considering that the Seminole Tribe operates all the land-based casinos in Florida, it may seem like an impossible deal to legalize online casino operations. However, if the Seminole Tribe is allowed to run the top real money online casinos and partner with other stakeholders, maybe a deal might be reached.
Legalizing Online Casinos in Florida: When?
The former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, seemed to have answered this question. In a statement issued to the press within the week, the former governor said now was not the time to legalize online gambling.
In another statement, Sprowls added that the Special Session to discuss the Compact further would be concluded on Wednesday. The legislature may ratify the Compact between Florida and Seminole Tribe soon considering the setback suffered by land-based casinos, but when?