Special Session

The Legislature held a special session on gaming from May 17th to 19th. The primary purpose was to ratify the Compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, negotiated by the Governor and Legislative leaders. The proposed included a revenue-sharing plan of $500 million annually for the first five years and an estimated $6 billion through 2030. The U.S. Department of the Interior, who oversees Native American gaming compacts, must approve the plan. Bills related to non-Seminole Tribe sports betting and bingo were also introduced, but the Legislature did not consider them. It is likely these issues will appear during the 2022 session.

Opponents, like No Casinos, contend that the recently signed Compact violates the Florida Constitution because it allows mobile sports betting through a server based on the Tribe’s land. They referenced 2018’s Amendment 3 which prohibited the expansion of gambling. The amendment was approved by 72 percent of Florida voters. The Governor received four bills and signed all of them on May 20th. They ratified the Compact, set up a gaming commission and revised the pari-mutuel wagering operations and related application requirements. Legal challenges are expected by gambling opponents at the state and federal levels.