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Florida OKs Sports Betting Operated by Seminole Tribe

Written by:
Associated Press
Published on:
May/19/2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Seminole Tribe would be able to operate sports betting and add roulette and craps to its casinos and Florida would potentially receive $20 billion over the next 30 years, under an agreement the Legislature approved Wednesday.

The House voted 97-17 to approve a gambling compact that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the tribe signed last month. The Senate approved it Tuesday. It still needs to be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations, and even lawmakers supporting the deal expect legal challenges.

“It is a good deal for our state,” said Republican Rep. Randy Fine. “Could we get a better deal? I don’t know. I’d like to think I could, sure. But I don’t have that choice. I have this deal and a closer path to a million and half dollars a day.”

Democrats opposing the bill argued that the compact violates Amendment 3 passed by voters in 2018. The amendment to the state constitution prevents the expansion of gambling outside of tribal lands without voter approval. Opponents questioned whether the compact will survive a legal challenge.

“What ever happened to Amendment 3?” asked Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani. “I thought that moving forward, the voters would approve any type of expansion of gambling.”

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