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Another Year, Another Missed Opportunity For Florida Sports Betting

Perhaps the incoming threat of the coronavirus outbreak played a part, but the state of Florida will not have sports betting available in the year of 2020. As a matter of fact, it’s probably safe to say that it’s anyone’s guess when sports betting will be on the landscape once again – for a variety of reasons.

Last week, Florida’s latest legislative session ended without sports betting coming to its state. In fact, there have more than a few meetings about sports betting the year between lawmakers.

However, those talks didn’t get too far off the ground.

There will be a special meeting between the Seminole Tribe and Senate President Bill Galvano later this year that could bring legalized sports betting to The Sunshine State via gaming deals.

Florida is in a unique position needing the approval of the Seminole Trible to move forward. In this latest instance, the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement in the time allotted. This has been an ongoing theme between the state and the Tribe.

At the onset of the talks with Florida, the Seminole Tribe wasn’t speaking with the state about any type of legalization. Neither side ever made the maximum effort to make things easier between them.

In all actuality, the two sides couldn’t even agree to meet until the beginning of March. However, it wasn’t in enough time for a bill to get passed.

For the time being, the Seminole Tribe has stopped payments to Florida via their gaming businesses due to issues with their compact-gaming plans. That has equated to a $330 million loss in yearly payment for The Sunshine State as the Tribe has yet to agree to the new terms on a possible deal.

To put it clearly, the Seminole Tribe is basically running the state of Florida.

For sports betting to get legalized in the state of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis would need to hold a special legislative session to get himself involved in the deal.

Lost Revenue

Currently, The Sunshine State is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, according to a proposal from Sen. Wilton Simpson. It is one that DeSantis doesn’t love in the first place.

“Obviously, the tribe makes a killing here at casinos in the state of Florida because they actually are the Florida businesses,” said DeSantis last year.

In the proposal from Simpson that was nixed last year, the Seminole Tribe would’ve had to pay $500 million to the state on a yearly basis, making that $170 million more than they were initially doing. There could, however, be something positive to look forward to in the future.

“We have made progress internally, and we are now engaged in negotiations with the Tribe,” said Galvano. “I hope we get to a deal there (at the special legislation). But again, I’d rather have a good deal and do it a few days later, or even you can even bring people back potentially than try to force things under an artificial timeline.”

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