The Sunshine State could easily be a gold mine for the betting business. This is one of the largest and most populated states where sports betting is still to become legal. This, still untapped, market is potentially worth billions of dollars. Not so long ago, it seemed that betting legalization in the state was a done deal. However, a couple of major industry players are not that pleased about recent developments. The ongoing saga of bringing sports betting to Florida includes several parties interested in the outcome. The state itself, the Seminole Tribe, and owners of the gambling establishments all have a stake in the process.
Back in April, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe signed a 30-year contract. It’s known as the compact. The agreement was supposed to bring sports betting to the state. The bettors across the state were rather excited about the news. However, a lot of other people and some companies weren’t that happy.
Daniel Wallach, an attorney with expertise in gambling and legal sports betting, explained why that was the case. He noted that several other parties felt that the new agreement will create a monopoly across the state. The main beneficiary of this situation will be the Seminole Tribe. One of the sides opposing the contract is the new political action committee.
This organization has the backing of the online betting giants. DraftKings and FanDuel both put their right behind the committee. They feel that the form in which sports betting will be introduced to the state should be decided by Florida voters. Furthermore, they believe that this will open space for them to become players in this market. If the vote does happen, we’re probably looking at one of the most expensive ballot campaigns in Florida history.
Another interested party, the Bonita Springs Poker Room filed a lawsuit stating that the compact is in breach of federal law. This particularly refers to the section of the agreement saying that all online bets must run through servers located on tribal property. Other than this provision, the Bonita Springs Poker Room owners have stated full support of the governor and the compact.
Some experts, including John Holden from Oklahoma State University, believe that the governor will argue that there are no valid grounds for the lawsuit. On the other hand, Magic City Casino who owns Bonita Springs feels it’s the court’s decision to make. Even if this fails, the lawsuit is still a long way from being successful. Most of the conflict revolves around mobile and online betting. However, wagering in person on the tribal property is also still not possible. The compact is yet to be approved by the federal government. The approval is not expected before the end of July.
The representatives of the Seminole Tribe are confident that the agreement is in accordance with federal law. They believe that there will be no issues in getting federal approval. The Tribe adds that in exchange for granting them exclusive rights, the State of Florida will receive $2,5 billion in revenue sharing.