Seminoles Okayed to Operate Sportsbook, But Not the Exclusivity in the Gaming

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On Friday, the US Department of the Interior announced that it has reviewed the Seminole Tribe of Florida gaming compact and determined that the tribe has exclusive gaming rights, including sports betting rights.

However, the federal agency insisted that the approval only covers the areas consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Bryan Newland, the Principal Deputy Secretary of Indian Affairs, posted a letter acknowledging the Indian pursuit for gaming rights something that Florida and Seminole leaders claimed as a victory.

However, Newland noted that online gaming is authorized under IGRA but looked at instances where tribes sought to offer online gaming without a compact with the state. Newland further noted that Florida law permit gaming actions to only happen in tribal land where the servers are located.

Florida could launch sports betting in a couple of months. The tribal casinos and the three Seminoles casinos have promised the state at least $2.5 billion in revenue in the next five years if offered exclusive rights to sports betting.

However, DraftKings and FanDuel are pushing for a referendum that would reduce Seminoles exclusivity. Loss of exclusivity would translate to a reduction of revenue the state will receive from the tribes.

Commenting on the expanded gaming rights, Seminole Chairman Marcellus Osceola noted that the state would benefit not only from the sports betting and casino games but also from jobs and money that will be invested in the state.

“Statewide sports betting and new casino games that will roll out this fall mean more jobs for Floridians and more money invested in this state.”

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