DeSantis, Seminole Tribe reach deal to legalize sports gambling

Florida would become 28th state to legalize sports gambling upon legislative, federal approval
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino sign and guitar hotel in background
Posted at 3:05 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 15:28:52-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis reached an agreement with the Seminole Tribe on Friday to legalize sports gambling in Florida.

Lawmakers will be hosting a special session to review and approve the deal on May 17.

Under the plan, fans could place bets anywhere from pro sports stadiums to existing casinos, with all wagers being handled by servers on Tribe property.

The plan would also allow the Seminole Tribe to offer online sports betting.


It is estimated that the legalization of sports betting in Florida would bring in an estimated $500 million-plus in revenue, allowing lawmakers to balance budget sheets without cutting into health care, education or infrastructure reserves.

The Seminole Tribe would control sports betting in Florida and would offer it at their casinos as an expansion to the existing gambling alternatives. The Seminole Tribe would likely use their major Hard Rock locations in Hollywood and Tampa.

Alternatively, sports betting would also be allowed at existing tracks, poker and wager rooms around the state where the tribe and other operators would split the profits.

Twenty-seven states have legalized the practice and, if approved, the Sunshine State would become the largest state in the country to approve sports gambling.

The governor's office said the agreement will generate the state a minimum of $2.5 billion in new revenue over the next five years and an estimated $6 billion through 2030.

"This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism and recreation and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for the benefit of all Floridians and Seminoles alike," DeSantis said in a news release. "Our agreement establishes the framework to generate billions in new revenue and untold waves of positive economic impact."