Florida Lawmakers Name Particular Session to Think about Seminole Deal
Posted on: Could 7, 2021, 11:21h.
Final up to date on: Could 7, 2021, 01:58h.
The Florida legislature will reconvene for a particular session through the week of Could 17 to grapple with a $2.5 billion gambling deal.
The settlement, signed final month by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr., is the fruits of greater than 5 years of failed talks and authorized battles between the highly effective tribe and the state. It proposes the most important playing growth in Florida in many years.
Beneath the compact, the Seminoles can be the unique operator of cellular and land-based sports activities betting in Florida for a minimum of the subsequent 30 years. They might even be permitted to supply craps and roulette at every of their seven casinos in Florida.
The legislature must log off. And with the state-guaranteed funds of a minimum of $500 million per 12 months for the primary 5 years, the stakes have by no means been increased.
The One That Obtained Away
Besides that’s not precisely true. In 2015, the earlier governor Rick Scott agreed to a $3 billion cope with the Seminoles. These funds had been to be unfold over seven years, not 5. However a sports activities betting monopoly wasn’t a part of the equation — simply blackjack, roulette, and craps — so it was arguably a greater deal for the state.
However the legislature rejected the deal. A 12 months later, a federal court docket stated the state had violated its earlier compact with the Seminoles by permitting pari-mutuel racetracks to supply “participant designated video games” that aped on line casino gaming.
The decide dominated the video games infringed on the tribe’s exclusivity, and this meant the Seminoles had been free to supply blackjack at their casinos solely and without spending a dime till 2030. This weakened the state’s hand on the negotiation desk.
The brand new deal would permit the pari-mutuels to proceed providing player-designated video games.
Fault Strains Rising
Might the legislature let America’s greatest revenue-share deal slip via its fingers twice in six years? It definitely may, Tallahassee watchers say. In any case, its members have by no means been exceptionally good at agreeing on something gambling-related.
“As predicted, anybody with an curiosity within the end result has already employed a swarm of lobbyists, public relations specialists, and sufficient attorneys to fill a considerable chunk of Doak Campbell Stadium,” writes Brian Burgess in The Capitolist. “That many individuals, every with their very own agenda, means there are some important fault strains beginning to emerge within the ‘course of.’”
Even when each chambers of the legislature can attain a consensus — and it’s doable — the deal will face legal challenges. In 2018, Florida voters handed a constitutional modification that requires voter approval of all proposed playing growth within the state.
The Governor’s workplace argues that growth is going on on Seminole sovereign land, not in Florida, though this can be a stretch on the subject of cellular sports activities betting.
The DeSantis-Seminole deal is headed for the Senate Appropriations Committee on Could 17 and may go to the Senate flooring the next day. All being effectively, it ought to hit the ground of the Home on Could 19.