Ron DeSantis Signs Florida Sports Betting Compact

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The clock has started. 

Governor Ron DeSantis (R) quietly signed the Florida Gaming Compact Between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida on Tuesday, formally sending the agreement to the Department of Interior for review. 

The compact, negotiated between DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida last month, and approved just last week by the Florida legislature opens the door to expanded gambling opportunities in the Sunshine State, including sports betting

“With this new compact, the state will now see a large stream of recurring revenue to the tune of billions of dollars over the next few years. The deal will also create over 2,000 jobs,” DeSantis said last week in a statement after both chambers passed the legislation. 

Since the compact is a deal involving a Native American tribe, it must go to the Department of Interior for a final seal of approval. DOI has 45 days from the date of signature — May 25 — to approve or reject, setting up a decision by July 10.

Questions Surrounding The Legality Of The Compact

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Gaming Act governs all casino operations involving Native American tribes.

Opponents to the compact have vowed to fight it in court, regardless of what DOI decides. 

The law stipulates gaming must occur “on Indian lands.” The Tribe and other supporters argue that because the servers processing sports bets will be located on the tribal lands it is covered. But opponents argue this is a cheap shot.

Daniel Wallach, a Florida attorney who specializes in gambling law, has been outspoken that the law not only violates IGRA but also a 2018 statewide referendum that said only voters — and not lawmakers — could expand gambling in the state. 

“[E]very federal court and federal agency which have analyzed this issue have concluded—without exception—that gambling over the Internet and from locations external to tribal land flunk IGRA’s clear requirement that the “gaming activity” occur only “on Indian land,” Wallach wrote in an opinion piece for Forbes earlier this month.

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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