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

Florida voters simply made it harder to change its legislation concerning gaming. What does that mean for the future of sports betting in the state?
Florida and Amendment 3
On Friday evening, as the majority of the nation was observing to see if there was likely to become an ideological shift in Congress, many in the gaming industry were watching a different race in Florida.
This race didn’t involve the election of an individual; the race was for Florida Amendment 3, a ballot measure that could shift the power from legislators to voters to authorize new casino gaming in the state.
The language of this measure has been as follows:
«This amendment ensures that Florida voters will 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 clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.»
Where did the gaming amendment come from?
Only two counties in Florida allow for»card games, casino games, casino games, and slot machines» at non-tribal owned centers.
In 2004, ahead of the present tribal compacts, under the watch of then-Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida voters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties handed a ballot initiative which allowed for slot machines at racing and jai-alai centers, which had functioned in the two decades prior.
The amendment effectively means that in order for the nation to expand casino gaming beyond the tribal casinos and existing racing and pari-mutuel facilities, voters in Florida would need to initiate the process by collecting enough signatures to get the request added to a ballot.
«In Florida, the number of signatures necessary to get an initiative is equal to 8 percent of the votes cast in the previous presidential election. Florida also includes a touch supply requirement, which requires that signatures equivalent to 8 percent of their district-wide vote at at least half (14) of the nation’s 27 congressional districts have to be collected.»
For reference, the 2016 Presidential election had 9,419,886 votes cast. Eight percent of the vote total is 753,591 signatures required to be able to acquire a casino expansion measure on a future ballot. This is an intimidating task, without thinking about the need for geographical distribution, which can be demanded.
There are, though, a few Florida-based groups that might have the ability to back a campaign of sufficient size to collect these votes at a time later on. Two that come into mind are Disney and the Seminole Tribe. Indeed, the two Disney and the Seminoles were major backers for departure Amendment 3, supposedly putting in tens of millions of dollars to encourage the measure’s passage.
The resistance saw support from smaller gambling suppliers including West Flagler Associates and Hialeah Park, in addition to the Miami Dolphins, who (in)famously tweeted an image that implied that the passage of Amendment 3″would block any chance for lawful sports gambling from Florida.»
If the language of Amendment 3 appears complicated, that is because it’s. The language used in the Amendment scored a grade-level position of 24 (the equivalent of having 24 decades of formal education or sufficient time to earn a Ph.D.) according to Ballotpedia, which ranks the readability of ballot measures. Amendment 3 was worded more complexly than many others, with the average ballot scoring between 19-20.
It does not take a Ph.D. to see that the Amendment doesn’t mention sports. So, does that mean that Florida can launch sports betting shortly?
Not really.
What’s’casino gambling’?
According to Ballotpedia, Amendment 3 defines casino gaming since card games, casino games and slot machines. There’s absolutely no mention of sports gambling. So, while it may seem that Amendment 3 leaves open the question of whether Florida can provide sports betting, it neglects the much larger issue, the fact that the State of Florida includes a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
Sports gambling is Class III gambling according to this Federal Register:
Class III gaming means all forms of gaming that are not class I gaming or class II gaming, including but not Limited to:
(a) Any home banking game, such as but not Limited to —
(1) Card games such as baccarat, chemin de fer, blackjack (21), and pai gow (if played as house banking games);
(2) Casino games like craps, blackjack, and keno;
(b) Any slot machines as defined 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 limit sports gambling, the present compact involving the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida could impose some limitations.
What’s in the Florida gaming streamlined?
The Compact, which was signed in 2010 between the Seminole Tribe and the country (it had been amended in 2015 to include authorization for extra games), said:
«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 acknowledges that the Tribe’s right to offer certain Class III gambling and provides substantial exclusivity of such actions along with a sensible revenue sharing arrangement between the Tribe and the State that will entitle the State to significant revenue participation.»
From the»Covered Games» part of the compact, there Is Not Any mention of sports betting, but There’s a statement that would seem to cover sports betting as within the covered games section:
«Any fresh game authorized 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 that the tribe has property in federal trust in the State as of February 1, 2010.»
The tribe and the state agreed that the»Tribe is authorized to operate Covered Games on Indian Lands….» While Section IV of the compact excludes numerous games such as roulette and craps (that were then allowed) there isn’t any mention of sports gambling, as blatantly excluded.
The compact identifies seven Seminole-owned casinos which could be expanded or replaced but does not authorize new construction beyond the existing lands. In addition to abiding by state-sanctioned gaming rules, the tribe, in exchange for»tight but Significant exclusivity,» agreed to pay:
$12.5 million each month during the initial 24 weeks of the agreement;
After that, 12 percentage of net wins on all sums up to $2 billion;
15 percent on net 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 each earnings sharing cycle.
These obligations are due on the 15th of each month for twenty years from the initiation of the compact.
What about online gambling?
For those expecting for online gambling, there’s a clause in the compact that says if the state law is altered to offer online gaming and tribal gambling revenue falls over five percent from the past twelve monthsthe tribe gets to substantially decrease their payments to the country under the bonded minimums. However , this will not apply if the tribe provides online gambling, subject to express authorization.
In the event that the Seminole Tribe loses exclusivity, the state of Florida will be looking for a fresh source of revenue. 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 gambling 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 entitled to cease some of their payments until such gambling is no longer managed. Similarly, if existing non-tribal facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties extend their Class III offerings, the Seminole Tribe can decrease some of their payments to the state also.
So, about sports gambling…
It is unlikely that Florida will see sports betting being offered by any entity other than the Seminole Tribe.
The gaming compact negotiated between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is lucrative for the state and extremely helpful for the tribe. For an summary of how lucrative this compact is to get the State of Florida in 2016, the Seminole Tribe paid over $300 million into the state. The likelihood that Florida would endanger a portion of these payments to authorize something which would create as small extra state revenue as sports gambling is extremely unlikely.
While Florida sports gambling fans shouldn’t hold their breath for widespread lawful sports betting, the Seminole Tribe could, under the compact, get the capability to provide it at their seven casinos. Even though the Seminole Tribe has previously expressed an interest in being able to offer sports betting at its Florida Hard Rock possessions, they have recently been quiet on the issue inside the state of Florida.
Amendment 3 didn’t foreclose on any expectation of sports gambling in Florida. However, under the present gaming compact terms, it would seem to be a costly undertaking for state lawmakers to permit someone aside from the Seminole Tribe to offer it exclusively, a decision that would surely leave facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties unhappy.

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