A major gambling deal is in the works that would bring sports betting to Florida.
Lawmakers are rushing to pass a deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe to allow sports betting inside the tribe’s casinos.
It’s an agreement that would turn the Seminole casinos into spots like those in Las Vegas with craps, roulette and other games.
“Every year, there’s always talk about some sort of gambling deal,” said Gary Fineout, a reporter with Politico. “And it’s sort of always like … chasing down a unicorn. It seems to be elusive. That it doesn’t exist.”
Fineout broke the story early Thursday morning. The governor’s office won’t yet confirm his reporting, but Fineout told us his people are aware of it and haven’t corrected it.
“There’s every reason to think that both sides are going to walk out of this a winner,” said John Holden with Spears School of Business.
Like Fineout, John Holden has followed the often-contentious relationship between the state and the Seminole Tribe with near exclusive gaming rights for years. When he read Fineout’s report, his eye went first to the possibility of sports betting.
“It also expands craps and roulette to the tribes,” Holden said. “There’s going to be virtually no difference between the games that you can play in Las Vegas, and what you might see at the hard rock casino. So this is huge.”
One huge question comes back to that referendum Florida voters passed in 2018, which says any expansion of casino gambling must be approved by voters.
“Someone is going to sue over this,” Holden said.