Gaming deal between state and Seminole tribe could mean $500 million a year for Florida

A gaming compact between the state of Florida and the Seminoles could mean craps, roulette for tribe casinos exclusively.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – They say what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas and it seems that negotiations going in Tallahassee seem to be staying in Tallahassee.

And while the state is looking for a win, they are still keeping their cards close to the vest about a renewed casino gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It rests on what would be newly legal sports betting, which would be under the exclusive control of the tribe.

Besides becoming the state’s sports betting hub, the Seminole tribe would be able to add three more casinos, and add craps and roulette gaming exclusively. For that, the Seminoles would pay the state of Florida $500 million a year.

A variety of reports out of Tallahassee indicate that all that’s left to do is sign the deal.

But on Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis had nothing to say about it. And the Seminole tribe would only say that “negotiations are continuing.”

As for the senate president, we know from a memo to senators two weeks ago that he and the governor have been working for months to update the compact.

The tribe stopped paying it three years ago when they disputed perceived competition from Florida’s parimutuels, who now offer poker and designated player gaming.

Under a new deal, South Florida’s parimutuels and tracks could also offer sports betting but they would have to go through the Seminole tribe and pay a cut. Those businesses could also keep their poker and card games without objection from the tribe.

We reached out to some of South Florida’ parimutuels and it appears that they had no part in the negotiation. They said they hadn’t even been contacted.

One of the owners told Local 10 News that he had no idea whether a deal was imminent or not, or whether it was rumor or not.

Even if it the compact is signed in the next couple of days there is still a long way to go. All lawmakers have to sign off on the deal. The Department of Interior will also have to give the OK because that’s who oversees Indian gaming in the United States.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."