Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said there is no conversation or a way for online casino gaming to be implemented in the state of Florida. The announcement was made mere minutes after the opening of a week-long Special Session of the State Legislature, during which local lawmakers will take into consideration a new gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe.
Yesterday, Mr. Sprowls announced that Florida will no longer seek the addition of online casino gaming as part of the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe. The announcement has been considered a massive blow to all casino players in the state, as well as to the ones hoping to see gambling expansion there.
Florida House Speaker explained that many legislators have shared a specific concern in regard to the proposed measure. He shared that some of the Compact’s wording could be interpreted to lead to the backdoor expansion of digital gaming. He further noted it was not possible for the state to further pursuit that.
Not only Sprowls but other lawmakers as well, including Governor Ron DeSantis, were tightly engaged with the communication with the Seminole Tribe over the issue. However, the latest decision of local legislators is to eliminate any and all talks on statewide online casino gaming in Florida.
The Future of Gaming in Florida in the Longer Term to Be Determined by the Compact Agreement
As mentioned above, the Special Legislative Session that opened in Tallahassee yesterday will see Florida lawmakers explore a new gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe. The 75-page Compact is set to determine the future of gaming in the state in the longer term.
However, the addition of online gaming to the agreement was considered a crucial part of the negotiations for many legislators. The proposed online gaming measure required the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe to enter good faith negotiations regarding the implementation of online casino games over the next three years.
According to some of the lawmakers, such as the Republican Representative Randy Fine, the online gaming clause was indisputably the issue with the greatest priority in the Gaming Compact. However, some people did not feel comfortable saying yes to the addition of online gambling options, he noted.
The elimination of the online casino gaming provision is likely to help Florida lawmakers quickly give the green light to the Seminole Tribe Compact, with them likely to do so by the middle of the week. The Compact, however, has to be ratified by the Legislature before it goes into effect. In case it receives Florida lawmakers’ approval, the state is expected to get fresh revenue of $2.5 billion over the next five years, with the figure expected to rise to $6 billion through 2030.
The formal deal, along with a few other bills associated with daily fantasy sports, bingo and a state gaming control commission, is set to be carried into the Senate Appropriations Committee.