Florida’s new Gaming Compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been approved by the federal government, ushering in what is set to become the biggest Florida gaming expansion in decades.
Notice of approval, provided in a letter of Bryan newland, principal assistant under secretary of the United States Department of the Interior for Indian Affairs, authorizes the massive new accord between the Seminoles and Florida, negotiated by the government. Ron DeSantisadministration and approved at an extraordinary session of the legislature in May.
Sports betting will be legalized both in casinos and online, managed by the Seminole tribe. The legal status of daily fantasy sports games will be confirmed. New casinos can be built and open, both on and off tribal lands. Other casinos can be expanded or relocated. Roulette and craps tables will be added.
The Seminole tribe would ensure and increase its payments to government, starting with $ 2.5 billion in the first five years.
Some pari-mutuel establishments may close their racing or jai alai operations and concentrate entirely on casino operations.
“After careful consideration under the IGRA, we took no action to endorse or disapprove the Covenant until August 5, 2021, day 45,” Newland wrote in a letter dated Friday to Marcellus W. Osceola Jr., President of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “Consequently, the Compact is considered to have been approved as of right insofar as it complies with the IGRA and the federal law in force. The Covenant will come into effect upon publication of the notice in the Federal Register.
“It does, yes” said John sowinski, president of No casino, who had urged the Bureau of Indian Affairs reject the pact.
Publication of the notice in the Federal Register could take place as early as Monday, but it could take longer. Approval is an all-or-nothing option. There will be no amendments or restrictions added by the federal government.
The new deal replaces a 2010 contract that gave the tribe the “exclusive” right to operate bank card games, such as blackjack. But the Seminoles in 2019 stopped paying the state about $ 350 million a year due to a long-running dispute over the “designated player” card games offered in pari-mutuels across Florida.
The Compact was born this spring after years of conflict between the Seminole tribe, Florida, and other gaming interests, and years of lobbying by a range of gaming interests and opponents of the expansion of the game in Florida. The legislator approved it. DeSantis and the tribe signed it.
On June 21, the agreement was sent to the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, who was to determine if the chord aligns with the Indian Gaming Regulation Act and other federal laws.
The federal government, through the Minister of the Interior Deb Haaland, had 45 days to act. According to various interpretations of the law, the 45th day was Thursday. Since she has not taken action, the pact gets approval by default, according to India’s Gaming Regulation Act, as cited by the Federal Register.
The Office of Indian Affairs posted Newland’s letter on its website the letter Friday afternoon.
A representative of the Seminole tribe declined to comment on Friday.
Representatives from the DeSantis office would not confirm the Compact’s approval until Friday.
There are several lawsuits aimed at challenging the agreement. There is also several statewide voting initiatives in the works to change or question the Compact.