TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The United States Department of the Interior has officially approved the gaming compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, signaling the start of legalized gambling in the state and ushering in billions of dollars in state revenue over the next decade.
“The final approval of this historic gaming compact is a big deal for the State of Florida,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement on Friday. “This mutually-beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians.”
The gaming compact is expected to generate $2.5 billion over five years, and a total of $6 billion by 2030. The approval comes after a 45-day review period. Now, the agreement between the state government and the Seminole Tribe will usher in what state officials call a big benefit for the state’s economy and more jobs for Floridians.
An announcement from the governor’s office says the gambling compact’s approval will mean 2,200 jobs for Floridians thanks to sports betting, though that is just an estimate.
“Today is a great day for the people of Florida, who will benefit not only from a $2.5 billion revenue sharing guarantee over five years, but also from statewide sports betting and new casino games that will roll out this fall and mean more jobs for Floridians and more money invested in this state,” Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. said.
Still, not all of Florida is happy with the move and state legislators were divided on the potential legality of the agreement.
A ballot measure passed in 2018 which gave state voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize gambling in Florida.”
Opponents of the gaming compact, such as John Snowinski, the president of No Casinos Incorporated, told 8 On Your Side’s Beth Rousseau that the decision to make the compact should be up to Florida’s voters.
“It’s voters, not policy makers in Tallahassee that have the power to expand gambling in our state,” Snowinski said.