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Florida approves sports betting operated by Seminole Tribe

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Place those bets! Sports betting has been approved in Florida.

The Seminole Tribe will now be able to operate sports betting under an agreement with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that the Legislature approved on Wednesday.

The House voted 97-17 to approve the compact that DeSantis and the tribe signed last month. The Senate approved it Tuesday.

In addition to sports betting, the tribe will be able to add roulette and craps to its seven casinos. The state will receive at least $2.5 billion over the next five years and an estimated $20 billion over the course of the 30-year deal.

“It is a good deal for our state,” said Republican Rep. Randy Fine. “Could we get a better deal? I don’t know. I’d like to think I could, sure. But I don’t have that choice. I have this deal and a closer path to a million and half dollars a day.”

Democrats opposing the bill argued that the compact violates a state constitutional amendment that prevents the expansion of gambling without voter approval and questioned whether it will survive a legal challenge. They also said the state could have made a better deal.

If approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations, the Seminoles can begin sports betting Oct. 15 and operate sports wagering at horse tracks, jai alai frontons and former dog tracks for a share of the income. Online sports betting operated by the tribe also will be allowed.

Florida’s original compact with the Seminoles gave the tribe exclusive rights to slot machines and blackjack. In exchange, the tribe paid the state several billion dollars — but is no longer obligated to make payments to the state.

The post Florida approves sports betting operated by Seminole Tribe appeared first on NBC2 News.

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