If Sports Betting Is Going To Happen In Florida, It’s Going To Have To Come Via Seminole Hard Rock

Florida voters simply made it more challenging to change its laws regarding gaming. What exactly does that mean for the future of sports gambling in the nation?
Florida and Amendment 3
On election night, as the majority of the nation was observing to see whether there was likely to be an ideological shift in Congress, many in the gaming industry were seeing a different race in Florida.
This race did not involve the election of a person; the race was for Florida Amendment 3, a ballot measure that would shift the power from legislators to voters to authorize new casino gaming in the nation.
The language of this step has been as follows:
“This change ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gaming by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it has to be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment doesn’t conflict with federal legislation concerning state/tribal compacts.”
Where did the gaming amendment come out of?
Just two counties in Florida permit for”card games, casino games, casino games, and slot machines” in non-tribal owned facilities.
In 2004, before the current tribal compacts, under the opinion of then-Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida voters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties passed a ballot initiative that enabled for slot machines in racing and jai-alai centers, which had functioned in the two decades prior.
The change effectively means that in order for the nation to expand casino gambling beyond the tribal casinos and present racing and pari-mutuel centers, voters in Florida would have to initiate the procedure by collecting enough signatures to get the request added into a ballot.
“In Florida, the number of signatures required to get an initiative is equivalent to 8% of the votes cast in the previous presidential election. Florida also has a touch supply requirement, which requires that signatures equal to 8% of their district-wide vote at at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts have to be collected.”
For reference, the 2016 Presidential election had 9,419,886 votes cast. Eight percent of the vote total is 753,591 signatures needed in order to acquire a casino growth step on a future ballot. This is an intimidating task, without thinking about the demand for geographic distribution, which is demanded.
There are, though, a few Florida-based groups that might have the ability to back a campaign of adequate size to gather these votes at one time in the future. Two which come to mind are Disney and the Seminole Tribe. Really, both Disney and the Seminoles were important backers for departure Amendment 3, allegedly putting in tens of millions of dollars to encourage the measure’s passage.
The opposition saw assistance from smaller gambling suppliers including West Flagler Associates and Hialeah Park, as well as the Miami Dolphins, that (in)famously tweeted out an image that indicated the passage of Amendment 3″would effectively block any opportunity for lawful sports betting in Florida.”
In the event the language of Amendment 3 appears complicated, that’s because it is. The language employed in the Amendment scored a grade-level rank of 24 (the equivalent of getting 24 years of formal education or enough time to make a Ph.D.) according to Ballotpedia, which ranks the readability of all ballot measures. Amendment 3 has been worded more complexly than others, together with the typical ballot scoring between 19-20.
It does not require a Ph.D. to see that the Amendment doesn’t mention sports. So, does this imply that Florida can launch sports betting shortly?
Not really.
What is’casino gambling’?
In accordance with Ballotpedia, Amendment 3 defines casino gaming as card games, casino games and slot machines. There’s absolutely no mention of sports betting. So, while it may appear that Amendment 3 leaves open the question of whether Florida can offer sports betting, it fails the far larger issue, that the State of Florida has a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
Sports gambling is Class III gaming according to the Federal Register:
Class III gaming means all forms of gaming That Aren’t class I gaming or class II gaming, including but not limited to:
(a) Any house banking game, including but not Limited to —
(1) Card games like baccarat, chemin de fer, blackjack (21), and pai gow (if played house banking games);
(2) Casino games such as roulette, craps, and keno;
(b) Any slot machines as defined in 15 U.S.C. 1171(a)(1) and electronic or electromechanical facsimiles of any game of chance;
(c) Any sports gambling and parimutuel wagering including but not limited to wagering on horse racing, dog racing or jai alai; or
(d) Lotteries.
While Amendment 3 doesn’t limit sports betting, the existing compact involving the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida could impose some restrictions.
What is in the Florida gaming streamlined?
The Compact, which was signed in 2010 between the Seminole Tribe and the state (it had been amended in 2015 to add authorization for additional games), stated:
“It’s in the best interests of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida for the State to enter into a compact with the Tribe that acknowledges that the Tribe’s right to offer certain Class III gaming and provides substantial exclusivity of such activities along with a sensible revenue sharing arrangement between the Tribe and the State that will entitle the State to important earnings participation.”
From the”Covered Games” part of the compact, there Is Not Any mention of sports gambling, but There’s a statement that would seem to cover sports gambling as within the covered games segment:
“Any fresh sport authorized by Florida law for any person for any use, except for banked card games authorized for any other federally recognized tribe pursuant to [the] Indian Gambling Regulatory Act, provided that the tribe has land in federal trust in the State as of February 1, 2010.”
The tribe and the state agreed that the”Tribe is authorized to operate Covered Games on Indian Lands….” While Section IV of the compact excludes numerous games such as blackjack and roulette (which were subsequently allowed) there isn’t any mention of sports betting, as explicitly excluded.
The streamlined identifies seven Seminole-owned casinos which can be enlarged or replaced but does not authorize new construction outside the present lands. In addition to abiding by state-sanctioned gaming rules, the tribe, in trade for”partial but substantial exclusivity,” agreed to cover:
$12.5 million each month during the initial 24 months of the agreement;
After that, 12 percent of internet wins on all sums up to $2 billion;
15 percent on internet wins between $2 and $3 billion;
17.5 percent on internet wins between $3 billion and $3.5 billion;
Up to 25 percent on all levels larger than $4.5 billion each revenue sharing cycle.
These obligations are due on the 15th of each month for twenty five years from the initiation of the compact.
What about online gambling?
For those hoping for online gaming, there’s a clause in the streamlined that states: if the state law is altered to offer online gaming and tribal gambling revenue drops more than five percent from the past twelve months, the tribe has to substantially reduce their payments to the country below the guaranteed minimums. But, this won’t apply if the tribe provides online gambling, subject to express consent.
In the event that the Seminole Tribe loses exclusivity, the state of Florida will be looking for a new source of revenue. Part XII Section A. of the Compact states:
“If, after February 1, 2010, Florida legislation is amended by action of the Florida Legislature or an amendment to the Florida Constitution to allow (1) the performance of Class III gambling or other casino-style gaming at any place under the jurisdiction of the State that was not in operation as of February 1, 2010, or (2) new forms of Class III gambling or other casino-style gaming that were not in operation as of February 1, 2010.”
If this happen, the tribe is entitled to stop some of their obligations until such gaming is no longer managed. In the same way, if present non-tribal centers in Broward and Miami-Dade counties extend their Course III offerings, the Seminole Tribe can reduce some of their obligations to the state as well.
So, about sports betting…
It is not likely that Florida will observe sports gambling being provided by any entity other than the Seminole Tribe.
The gambling compact negotiated between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is lucrative for the nation and extremely beneficial for the tribe. For an overview of how lucrative this compact is for the State of Florida at 2016, the Seminole Tribe paid over $300 million into the nation. The likelihood that Florida would undermine a portion of these payments to authorize something which would generate as small extra state revenue as sports gambling is extremely unlikely.
While Florida sports gambling fans shouldn’t hold their breath for widespread legal sports gambling, the Seminole Tribe could, under the streamlined, get the ability to offer it at their seven casinos. While the Seminole Tribe has previously expressed an interest in being able to offer sports gambling at its Florida Hard Rock possessions, they’ve recently been silent on the issue inside the state of Florida.
Amendment 3 did not foreclose on any hope of sports betting in Florida. However, under the existing gaming compact terms, it would seem to be a costly endeavor for state lawmakers to permit someone other than the Seminole Tribe to provide it exclusively, a choice that would surely leave facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties unhappy.

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