State signs huge gaming deal with Seminole Tribe

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The state has a new, 30 year gaming compact with the Seminole tribe.

Under the deal, the tribe will pay the state $2.5 billion over the next five years.

The deal will likely be challenged the moment it is ratified.

The occasion was called historic.

The 30 year deal comes after five years of failed negotiations.

“The money that we generate from our casino’s is life changing from an education and health standpoint,” said Seminole Tribal Chief Marcellus W. Osceola Jr.

Under the deal the tribe will add Craps, Roulette, and remote sports betting.

The tribe can contract with parimutuel tracks for sports betting, taking 40 percent of any profits.

The tribe can also contract with the major players in the industry.

The deal is worth billions to the state.

“To have an agreement like this, which is going to provide the state with a minimum of $500 million a year, that’s something I think is really important,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

Questions remain over whether this deal violates a 2018 voter approved constitutional amendment that requires voter approval before any gambling expansion.

Organizer John Sowinski argues it does.

“The federal law deals with the state and the Tribe entering into compacts for those forms of gambling that are already legal within the state. Sports betting is not already legal. It is subject to voter approval if its going to be on the reservation or anywhere else,” said Sowinski.

But the Governor and Chief believe the deal with withstand legal scrutiny.

“I think we’ve created a model that these wagers are being processed on Tribal land. I think it will pass muster,” said DeSantis.

Before any lawsuit, the deal must be ratified by state lawmakers.

A May 17th date has already been set for a Special legislative session.

As the Tribe’s revenue grows the state’s share will increase.

It is expected to produce over $6 billion for the state by the end of the decade.

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