The Seminole Tribe of Florida kicked off its recently approved online sports betting platform in Florida amidst legal challenges. The Tribe rolled out the new entertainment option with little press.
The launch of the new platform, which operates through an app downloadable for smart devices, allows users to place bets and wagers on professional sports teams.
The state of Florida entered into an agreement with the tribe, known as the Seminole Gaming Compact, earlier this year. The compact was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The agreement then had to be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which it did approve in August.
The agreement designates the Seminole Tribe as the centralized location for online sports betting and requires the tribe to work with three pari-mutuels.
Florida anticipates the deal would bring as much as $6 billion in revenue for the state until the year 2030. The tribe noted they made their first payment to the state totaling approximately $37 million, which was praised by DeSantis.
“Not only will this compact bring a guaranteed $2.5 billion in revenue over the next five years, but it also brings together Florida pari-mutuel businesses from across the state in a creative partnership with the Seminole Tribe providing increased access to safe and transparent sports betting in Florida,” DeSantis said.
However, the gaming compact is still facing a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room has cited the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which prevents bets from being placed off tribal land. They believe they have a valid claim since the betting occurs on a downloadable app that can be accessed anywhere, not exclusive to tribal land.
The challengers also are contending the agreement is in violation of a 2018 constitutional amendment requiring voter-approved expansion of gambling.
DeSantis and Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-District 65) have both said that they anticipate legal challenges to the compact, but feel the state will prevail and the constitutionality of the compact is upheld.
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.