Sports betting, once illegal throughout much of the United States, continues to grow in popularity as more and more states are pouncing on it as a way of increasing their incoming tax revenue.
And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, apparently at the forefront of so many different things of late, is at the forefront of this development, too.
On Friday, May 14, DeSantis reached and finalized a deal with Florida’s Seminole Native American tribe which would allow them to expand and control various kinds of gambling activities throughout different parts of Florida. Most prominently, sports better would be legal in many places in this state.
The Specifics of the Deal
Specifically, the Seminoles would be allowed to offer visitors to their casinos in South Florida and around Tampa to bet on sporting events. The tribe would also have permission to license horse-racing and dog-racing tracks, as well as jai-alai frontons. The casinos could then accept bets on these events, and the tribe would be entitled to collect a portion of the revenues thereby raised.
Craps and roulette will also be coming to a few prominent Florida casinos because of this agreement, including the Hard Rock near Fort Lauderdale.
According to DeSantis, these moves are expected to create about 2,200 new jobs in Florida and to earn the state as much as $6 billion in additional revenue by 2030. In the first five years alone, he projects that an extra $2.5 billion will go to the state’s coffers.
“This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism and recreation, and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for all Floridians and Seminoles alike,” DeSantis said in a statement on the matter. “Our agreement establishes the framework to generate billions of new revenue and untold waves of positive economic impact.”
Now that the agreement has been hammered out, it must go to the Florida state legislature for consideration. This will happen starting on Monday, May 17. Florida’s Department of the Interior and the Seminole Tribal Council must also approve the agreement before it is allowed to formally go into effect. Once all of this happens, however, the agreement will remain in force for the next 30 years.
Florida’s Seminole tribe is a small group consisting of only about 4,100 members. Once poor, the group was able to establish and slowly expand casino operations throughout Florida, beginning with a high-stakes bingo parlor back in 1979. Since then, slot machines, blackjack, poker and other gambling accouterments have been added to the Seminoles’ casino empire. These moves have been so successful that all members of the tribe are able to earn more than $100,000 per year in dividend revenues from this work.
Norman Braman, a Florida billionaire, is working with other businessmen in the area to oppose this new measure, however. He says he will fight it in the legislature and in the courts if necessary. He believes that as gambling expands in Florida, crime will follow in its wake.