Online sports betting in Florida approved by the US Department of the Interior


Robert linnehan | 4 hours ago

Suddenly, Florida became the largest state in the country to legalize sports betting.

Florida’s online sports betting, along with the entire Florida gaming contract, was approved by the US Department of the Interior on Friday evening after 45 days of deliberations. The 30-year gambling contract is expected to bring the Sunshine State $ 6 billion over the next 30 years and officially legalize sports betting in Florida. It gives exclusive sports betting rights to the Seminole tribe and is expected to provide $ 2.5 billion to the state in the first 5 years alone, with annual payouts of at least $ 500 million.

Florida lawmakers approved the broad pact on May 19.

“After a thorough review under the IGRA, we took no action to approve or disapprove the Compact until August 5, 2021, day 45. Consequently, the Compact is considered to have been approved as of right insofar as it complies with the IGRA and the federal law in force. The Pact will come into effect upon publication of the notice in the Federal Register, ”wrote Bryan Newland, Senior Assistant Deputy Secretary for Indian Affairs, in the Home Department’s letter of approval.

Florida Online Sports Betting May Begin October 15

The earliest date on which online sports betting is permitted is October 15, 2021. The Seminole Tribe may launch online sports betting through its Hard Rock Digital bookmaker on that date and retail sports betting at its Hard Rock Casino locations.

A sticking point of the pact for Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole tribe was the legality of online sports betting in the state. The contract argued that the casino servers would be hosted on tribal property, so any bet placed in the state will be deemed to take place where the servers are located, which did not technically violate federal law. While several organizations and experts argued otherwise, the Home Office noted that federal law should change with new and emerging technologies and that the reasoning of the pact for online sports betting should be maintained.

“In examining the eligibility of mobile sports betting under the IGRA as a new topic, the ministry seeks to respect the intent of the IGRA and notes that: 1) the evolution of technology should not be a barrier for the IGRA. tribes participating in the gaming industry; 2) the pursuit of mobile gaming is consistent with IGRA public policy considerations to promote tribal economic development, self-reliance and strong tribal governments; and 3) the objectives of the IGRA would be served by improving cooperation between tribes and states in the regulation of mobile betting, ”the department noted in its letter.

Pari-Mutuel sports bets are not approved

The federal government, however, did not approve the pact’s proposal for a hub-and-spoke model for online sports betting in Florida. The pact offered partnerships between the Seminole tribe and pari-mutuels qualified to offer sports betting in their own facilities. The pact required the Seminole tribe to compensate pari-mutuels partners in an amount of at least 60% of the difference between the net gain earned by the tribe on customers who access their betting platform via the bets. -mutuals and related tribal expenses.

The federal government has spoken out against this aspect of the agreement, which will limit sports betting only to the Seminole tribe. It has enabled partnerships between the tribe and pari-mutuels to continue to offer certain card games in establishments.

DeSantis today thanked the Seminole Tribe and praised the play compact for the benefit of all Florida residents.

“The final approval of this historic gaming contract is a big deal for the state of Florida. This mutually beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and generate billions in new income for the benefit of Floridians, ”DeSantis said in a statement.

Florida online sports betting challenges are still expected

Challenges for the gaming compact are still expected. West Flagler Associates, on behalf of Magic City Casino, and Bonita Springs Poker Room filed a lawsuit against the pact in early July. The lawsuit argues that the Florida online sports betting component of the document violates the Indian Gaming Regulation Act (IGRA).

DraftKing and FanDuel have also mounted their own response to the gaming compact. The sports betting titans are behind a voting initiative filed in Florida in 2022 to allow online sports betting across the Sun State. If approved by state officials, it would allow voters to decide the fate of online sports betting in Florida statewide in the 2022 general election.

The ballot measure, if approved by voters, would circumvent the 30-year approved gambling contract between Florida and the Seminole Tribe.

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