TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Legal gambling could return to the Sunshine State following a new court ruling issued late last month.
On June 30, a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. gave the green light to a 30-year gambling compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state of Florida. The deal is expected to bring $2.5 billion in tax money to the government within five years.
The compact “allows statewide sports betting via cellphones and other electronic devices as long as the bets are channeled through servers on tribal land,” according to the Florida Phoenix.
The compact is expected to go into effect on August 21 – just weeks before the start of football season.
“While we are not surprised the lower court’s perplexing ruling was unanimously overturned, this is great news for Florida,” DeSantis’ press secretary Jeremy Redfern said in a statement.
“We will continue working with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to ensure the success of this historic compact — the largest gaming compact in U.S. history — which will lead to over $20 billion in revenues for the people of Florida.”
The Florida Gaming Control Commission and Seminole Tribe of Florida also issued statements praising the court’s decision.
Not everyone was happy with the ruling, however.
No Casinos, a 45-year-old organization dedicated to fighting the expansion of gambling in the state of Florida, hinted that a forthcoming fight over the decision will come on the state level.
“This decision will not be the final word on this issue,” No Casinos spokesman John Sowinski said in a statement. “The will of the people will be respected, and the Florida Constitution requires that Florida Voters, not politicians and lobbyists in Tallahassee or Washington, have the final word on gambling authorization.”
Bob Jarvis, professor of constitutional law at Nova Southeastern University and author of a gambling law textbook, told the Phoenix he doesn’t expect the state courts to rule against the compact.
“The Seminoles will have sports betting,” he said. “The state of Florida wants them to have sports betting. It’s going to happen. It’s just a question of when.”
AMERICANS DIVIDED ON SPORTS GAMBLING
Americans remain evenly split on whether or not the practice should be legal, according to a UMass Lowell poll released in February.
Additionally, a Pew Research survey from September 2022 found that almost one in five Americans said they had placed some sort of monetary sports bet within the last 12 months.