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

Florida voters just made it more challenging to alter its laws regarding gambling. What does that mean to the future of sports betting from the state?
Florida and Amendment 3
On Friday evening, since most of the nation was watching to see whether there was going to become an ideological change in Congress, many in the gambling industry were watching another 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 gambling in the nation.
The language of this step has been as follows:
“This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to choose 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 gaming and explains that this amendment does not conflict with federal legislation concerning state/tribal compacts.”
Where did the gambling amendment come from?
Just two counties in Florida allow for”card games, casino games, casino games, and slot machines” in non-tribal owned centers.
In 2004, before the current tribal compacts, under the opinion of then-Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida voters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties handed a ballot initiative which enabled for slot machines at racing and jai-alai centers, which had operated in the 2 years prior.
The amendment effectively means that in order for the nation to expand casino gambling past the tribal casinos and present racing and pari-mutuel centers, voters in Florida would have to initiate the process by collecting enough signatures to get the request added into a ballot.
“In Florida, the amount of signatures necessary to get an initiative is equivalent to 8% of those votes cast in the previous presidential elections. Florida also includes a signature supply requirement, which requires that signatures equivalent to 8% of their district-wide vote at at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts must be gathered.”
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 get a casino growth measure on a future ballot. This is an intimidating endeavor, without considering the need 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 collect these votes at a time later on. Two that come to mind are Disney and the Seminole Tribe. Really, both Disney and the Seminoles were major backers for passing Amendment 3, allegedly putting in tens of millions of dollars to encourage the measure’s passage.
The opposition saw assistance from smaller gambling providers including West Flagler Associates and Hialeah Park, as well as the Miami Dolphins, who (in)famously tweeted an image that indicated that the passing of Amendment 3″would block any opportunity for legal sports betting in Florida.”
If the language of Amendment 3 seems complicated, that is as it is. The language employed in the Amendment scored a grade-level rank of 24 (the equivalent of having 24 decades of formal schooling or sufficient time to earn a Ph.D.) according to Ballotpedia, which ranks the readability of all ballot measures. Amendment 3 has been worded more complexly than others, with the average ballot scoring between 19-20.
It doesn’t require a Ph.D. to realize that the Amendment doesn’t mention sports. So, does this mean that Florida can start sports gambling shortly?
Not really.
What is’casino gambling’?
According to Ballotpedia, Amendment 3 defines casino gambling as card games, casino games and slot machines. There is no mention of sports gambling. So, while it may seem that Amendment 3 leaves open the question of whether Florida can offer sports betting, it neglects the much larger problem, the fact that the State of Florida includes a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
Sports betting is Class III gambling according to this 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, such as but not Limited to —
(1) Card games like baccarat, chemin de fer, blackjack (21), and pai gow (if performed house banking games);
(2) Casino games such as roulette, craps, and keno;
(b) Any slot machines as described in 15 U.S.C. 1171(a)(1) and electronic or electromechanical facsimiles of any game of chance;
(c) Any sports betting 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 restrict sports gambling, the existing compact involving the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida could impose a few limitations.
What is in the Florida gaming streamlined?
The Compact, which was signed in 2010 involving the Seminole Tribe and the country (it had been amended in 2015 to include authorization for additional games), stated:
“It is 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 recognizes the Tribe’s right to provide certain Class III gambling and provides substantial exclusivity of such actions in conjunction with a sensible revenue sharing agreement between the Tribe and the State that will entitle the State to significant revenue participation.”
In the”Covered Games” part of the compact, there is no mention of sports betting, but There’s a statement that would seem to cover sports gambling as inside the coated games section:
“Any new sport approved by Florida law for any individual for any use, except for banked card games approved for any other federally recognized tribe pursuant to [the] Indian Gambling Regulatory Act, assuming the tribe has land in federal trust in the State at February 1, 2010.”
The tribe and the state agreed that the”Tribe is authorized to run Covered Games on Indian Lands….” While Section IV of this compact excludes numerous games such as roulette and craps (that were then allowed) there is no mention of sports betting, as explicitly excluded.
The streamlined identifies seven Seminole-owned casinos which can be enlarged or replaced but doesn’t authorize new construction beyond the existing lands. In addition to abiding by state-sanctioned gaming principles, the tribe, in trade for”partial but substantial exclusivity,” agreed to cover:
$12.5 million each month during the first 24 months of the arrangement;
After that, 12 percentage of internet wins all amounts up to $2 billion;
15 percent on internet wins between $2 and $3 billion;
17.5 percent on net wins between $3 billion and $3.5 billion;
Up to 25 percent on all amounts larger than $4.5 billion per earnings sharing cycle.
These obligations are due on the 15th of each month for twenty five years by the initiation of this compact.
What about online gaming?
For those hoping for internet gambling, there’s a clause in the compact that says if the state law has been changed to offer online gambling and tribal gaming revenue falls over five percent in the previous twelve months, the tribe has to substantially reduce their payments into the state under the bonded minimums. However , this will not apply if the tribe provides online gambling, subject to state authorization.
In case the Seminole Tribe loses exclusivity, the state of Florida will be looking for a fresh source of earnings. 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 gaming or other casino-style gambling at any location under the jurisdiction of this State that wasn’t in operation at February 1, 2010, or (2) new forms of Class III gambling or other casino-style gaming which weren’t in operation at February 1, 2010.”
Should this happen, the tribe is eligible to cease some of their obligations until such gambling 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 country also.
So, about sports gambling…
It is not likely that Florida will observe sports gambling being offered by any thing other than the Seminole Tribe.
The gaming compact negotiated between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is rewarding for the state and extremely beneficial for the tribe. For an overview of how lucrative this compact is to get the State of Florida at 2016, the Seminole Tribe paid more than $300 million into the state. The chance that Florida would endanger a portion of those payments to authorize something that would create as little additional state revenue as sports gambling is incredibly unlikely.
While Florida sports gambling fans should not hold their breath for widespread legal sports gambling, the Seminole Tribe can, under the streamlined, get the ability to provide it in their casinos. While the Seminole Tribe has expressed an interest in being able to provide sports gambling at its Florida Hard Rock properties, they’ve recently been quiet on the matter within the state of Florida.
Amendment 3 did not foreclose on any hope of sports betting in Florida. However, under the present gaming compact provisions, it would appear to be a costly endeavor for state lawmakers to allow someone other than the Seminole Tribe to offer it exclusively, a decision that would surely render facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties unhappy.

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