Florida Senate ratifies Seminole Tribe compact with passage of Bill 2-A

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The Florida Senate today has this week passed Senate Bill 2-A, Implementation of the 2021 Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida. 

The legislation ratifies the 2021 gaming compact executed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor DeSantis on behalf of the State of Florida on April 23, 2021, as amended on May 17, 2021.

The 2021 compact creates a new revenue-sharing agreement with a $2.5bn guarantee in the first five years. It authorizes craps and roulette games at Seminole properties, additional facilities on the tribe’s Hollywood Reservation, and statewide online sports betting in partnership with existing pari-mutuels.

The development was welcomed by Senate President Wilton Simpson who has been working to negotiate a new compact with the tribe for several years. 

He stated: “By comprehensively addressing issues raised for almost a decade, this historic legislation restores Florida’s relationship with the Seminole Tribe, offers new opportunities for Florida’s legacy pari-mutuel industry, and provides substantial new revenues for our state. 

“After years of negotiations and the hard work of many people on both sides, I’m pleased to see this significant legislation pass the Senate today.”

Senator Travis Hutson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and sponsor of the Senate’s gaming legislation during 2021 Special Session A, added: “I’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for their strong support of this historic compact. 

“Not only are we beginning a new 30-year agreement with the Seminole Tribe, but we are also making needed updates to Florida law to better reflect the current gaming climate and combat illegal gambling.”

SB 2-A takes effect only if the compact is approved, or deemed approved and not voided, by the United States Department of the Interior, and takes effect on the date that notice of the effective date of the compact is published in the Federal Register.

Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr, speaking on behalf of the tribe’s 4,300 members, stated: “Today, all the people of Florida are winners, thanks to legislative approval of the gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  

“It is a historic and mutually-beneficial partnership between the State and Seminole Tribe that will positively impact all Floridians for decades to come. The Seminole Tribe wants to express our sincere thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, as well as to minority leaders Senator Lauren Book and Republican Evan Jenne, who have all worked hard to make this opportunity a reality.  

“I must also thank our entire team for such a meaningful outcome and specifically Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen for leading the negotiations.”