Sports Betting Compact Passes Florida House

  • Florida’s online sports betting compact passed the House on Wednesday.
  • The bill was approved with a vote tally of 97-17.
  • Legal challenges are expected, but the compact’s proponents expect them to be dealt with handily.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida’s House of Representatives approved a deal for online sports betting in the Sunshine State.

The House passed the renegotiated tribal compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida, with a vote tally of 97-17.

The compact approves sports betting in the state of Florida, as long as it is run by the Seminole Tribe.

It is worded in such a way as to get around 2018’s Amendment 3, which required that any expansion of gambling in the state be put to a popular vote, but had a carveout for tribal compacts.

The compact gives the Seminole Tribe exclusive sports betting rights for 30 years, and also allows them to partner with outside sportsbooks to bring sports betting to Florida.

Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen has already met with prospective sportsbook partners such as DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and Barstool Sportsbook (Penn National Gaming).

While the bill has passed through both chambers of the Florida State Legislature, there are still challenges in the way.

Legal challenges under Amendment 3 (which, intriguingly, the Seminole Tribe spent over $20 million getting passed) are almost certain to happen.

All parties of the compact are confident that the legal challenges will not be able to overturn the compact, given the carveout for tribal agreements within Amendment 3.

Florida DFS Is Dead

There have been some casualties of the rushed process for getting this compact approved, however.

Wording that could allow online gambling expansion in Florida under the compact was removed from it before it passed the Senate. A bill that would have regulated Daily Fantasy Sports in Florida did not even get to the floor on Tuesday.

Tuesday was a special session of the Senate, convened specifically for the purposes of passing the compact, and there simply wasn’t enough time to hammer out a DFS deal.

Rep. Travis Hutson, the sponsor of the DFS regulation bill, told the Miami Herald that “We are just too far off to try and deal with this bill in the next three hours.”

While Florida may be missing pieces of a full gambling legalization, the fact that online sports betting made it past the House is great news for Florida’s bettors.