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The final step towards making the latest gaming compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Indian Tribe operational happened on Wednesday when the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published it in the Federal Register.
As stated in that publication (which included a start date):
This notice publishes the approval by operation law of the Compact Between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida. The compacts take effect on August 11, 2021.
Prior to this, the BIA never acted on the compact during the entire 45-day review period it had to take action which, as we covered in Dept. of the Interior Approves Florida’s Sports Betting Compact, allowed the controversial gaming compact to be considered approved.
Now, with its publication in the Federal Register, the Seminole Tribe can begin its final steps towards launching legal sports betting in the Sunshine State, however, they still face plenty of legal pushback from industry insiders who aren’t happy with the Seminole’s gambling monopoly.
Though Florida regulates no online casinos, bettors can gamble live at any of the state’s seven Indian gaming casinos, six of which are operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the other by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians.
This tribal monopoly on Florida’s $2.5 billion gaming industry has upset non-tribal gambling interests for years, and now that a loophole in this new sports betting compact allows online bettors to place bets outside of tribal land, lawsuits, and a ballot initiative have been gaining ground.
The loophole that online bets made physically off the reservation are considered legal since the servers handling the wagers are located on tribal land is now being challenged by two lawsuits, plus a ballot initiative is in play for 2022 that would allow Florida voters to decide on mobile wagering not handled by the Seminoles.
Despite this potential red tape, plans for a fall launch in Florida are still solid.
The goal is for legal sports betting to launch in the fall to take advantage of the upcoming NFL season, with Florida’s three professional football teams –Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins – giving the state an upper edge when it comes to interested fans.
Regardless of how the lawsuits unfold, what is clear is that legal sports betting will be coming to Florida in 2021 and that is good news for gamblers who have been previously forced to place bets elsewhere with all that money going to non-Floridian interests.
Governor Ron DeSantis has publicly recognized sports gambling as a new means to economically enrich his state, recently telling the press:
This mutually beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation, and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians.
Whether all that will be done through the Seminoles only or if other outside operators will be included remains to be seen, so check back here for the latest updates on this ongoing saga.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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