Florida voters just made it more challenging to alter its legislation regarding gaming. What exactly does that mean to the future of sports betting in the nation?
Florida and Amendment 3
On election night, as the majority of the nation was watching to see if there was likely to become an ideological shift in Congress, many in the gaming industry were seeing another race in Florida.
This race didn’t involve the election of an individual; the race was for Florida Amendment 3, a ballot measure that would shift the power from legislators to voters to authorize brand new casino gambling in the state.
The language of the measure has been as follows:
“This amendment ensures that Florida voters will have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gaming to be authorized under Florida law, it has to be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal legislation regarding state/tribal compacts.”
Where did the gaming amendment come out of?
Just two counties in Florida permit for”card games, casino games, and slot machines” at non-tribal owned facilities.
In 2004, ahead of the present tribal compacts, under the opinion of then-Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida voters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties passed a ballot initiative that allowed for slot machines at racing and jai-alai centers, which had operated in the 2 years prior.
The change effectively suggests that in order for the nation to expand casino gaming past the tribal casinos and existing racing and pari-mutuel facilities, voters in Florida would have to initiate the process by collecting enough signatures to get the petition added into a ballot.
“In Florida, the amount of signatures necessary to get an initiative is equivalent to 8% of the votes cast in the previous presidential elections. Florida also includes a touch supply demand, which requires that signatures equal to 8% of their district-wide vote in at least half (14) of the nation’s 27 congressional districts must be collected.”
For reference, the 2016 Presidential election had 9,419,886 votes cast. Eight percent of this vote total is 753,591 signatures needed to be able to acquire a casino expansion measure on a future ballot. This is an intimidating task, without thinking about the demand for geographical distribution, which is demanded.
There are, though, a few Florida-based groups that might have the ability to back a campaign of adequate size to gather these votes at a time later on. Two which come into mind are Disney and the Seminole Tribe. Indeed, both Disney and the Seminoles were major backers for departure Amendment 3, supposedly putting in tens of millions of dollars to encourage the measure’s passage.
The opposition saw assistance from smaller gaming suppliers such as West Flagler Associates and Hialeah Park, as well as the Miami Dolphins, who (in)famously tweeted out an image that indicated that the passing of Amendment 3″would effectively block any opportunity for legal sports betting in Florida.”
If the language of Amendment 3 appears complicated, that is as it’s. The language employed in the Amendment scored a grade-level position of 24 (the equivalent of getting 24 decades of formal schooling or enough time to make a Ph.D.) according to Ballotpedia, which positions the readability of ballot measures. Amendment 3 was worded more complexly than many others, together with the typical ballot scoring between 19-20.
It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to realize that the Amendment does not mention sports. So, does this mean that Florida can launch sports gambling soon?
What is’casino gambling’?
In accordance with Ballotpedia, Amendment 3 defines casino gaming as card games, casino games and slot machines. There’s absolutely no mention of sports gambling. So, while it can seem that Amendment 3 leaves open the question of whether Florida can offer sports betting, it neglects the far bigger issue, that the State of Florida has a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
Sports gambling is Class III gaming according to the Federal Register:
Class III gaming means all forms of gaming that are not class I gaming or class II gaming, including but not Limited to:
(a) Any home banking game, including but not Limited to —
(1) Card games like baccarat, chemin de fer, blackjack (21), and pai gow (if performed as house banking matches );
(2) Casino games such as roulette, craps, and keno;
(b) Any slot machines as described in 15 U.S.C. 1171(a)(1) and electronic or electromechanical facsimiles of any game of chance;
(c) Any sports betting and parimutuel wagering such as but not Limited to wagering on horse racing, dog racing or jai alai; or
While Amendment 3 does not restrict sports betting, the present compact between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida could impose some limitations.
What is from the Florida gaming compact?
The Compact, which was signed in 2010 between the Seminole Tribe and the state (it was amended in 2015 to add authorization for extra games), said:
“It’s in the best interests of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida for the State to enter into a compact with the Tribe that recognizes the Tribe’s right to provide certain Class III gaming and supplies substantial exclusivity of such activities along with a reasonable revenue sharing arrangement between the Tribe and the State that will entitle the State to important earnings participation.”
In the”Covered Games” section of this compact, there is no mention of sports betting, but There’s a statement that might seem to cover sports betting as within the covered games segment:
“Any new game authorized by Florida law for any individual for any purpose, except for banked card games authorized for any other federally recognized tribe pursuant to [the] Indian Gambling Regulatory Act, provided the tribe has land in federal trust in the State as of February 1, 2010.”
The tribe and the state agreed that the”Tribe is authorized to run Covered Games on Indian Lands….” While Part IV of the compact excludes numerous games such as roulette and craps (which were subsequently allowed) there isn’t any mention of sports betting, as explicitly excluded.
The streamlined identifies seven Seminole-owned casinos which could be enlarged or replaced but doesn’t authorize new construction outside the existing lands. In addition to abiding by state-sanctioned gaming rules, the tribe, in trade for”partial but substantial exclusivity,” agreed to pay:
$12.5 million each month during the first 24 months of the arrangement;
After that, 12 percent of internet wins on all amounts up to $2 billion;
15 percent on internet wins between $2 and $3 billion;
17.5 percent on internet wins between $3 billion and $3.5 billion;
As much as 25 percent on all levels greater than $4.5 billion each earnings sharing cycle.
These payments are due on the 15th of each month for twenty years by the initiation of the compact.
What about online gaming?
For those hoping for online gaming, there’s a clause in the streamlined that statesif the state law is altered to provide online gambling and tribal gambling revenue falls over five percent in the previous twelve monthsthe tribe has to considerably reduce their payments into the state below the guaranteed minimums. But, this will not apply if the tribe provides online gambling, subject to express consent.
In case the Seminole Tribe loses exclusivity, the state of Florida will be looking for a fresh source of earnings. Part XII Section A. of the Compact states:
“If, after February 1, 2010, Florida legislation is amended by action of the Florida Legislature or an amendment to the Florida Constitution to permit (1) the performance of Class III gaming or other casino-style gambling at any place under the authority of the State that wasn’t in operation at February 1, 2010, or (2) new forms of Class III gambling or other casino-style gaming that weren’t in operation as of February 1, 2010.”
Should this happen, the tribe is eligible to cease some of their payments until such gaming is no longer managed. Similarly, if present non-tribal centers in Broward and Miami-Dade counties expand their Class III offerings, the Seminole Tribe can decrease some of their payments to the country as well.
So, about sports betting…
It’s unlikely that Florida will observe sports betting being provided by any entity other than the Seminole Tribe.
The gambling compact negotiated between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is rewarding for the nation and extremely beneficial for the tribe. For an summary of how rewarding this compact is to get the State of Florida in 2016, the Seminole Tribe paid more than $300 million to the nation. The likelihood that Florida would endanger a portion of those payments to authorize something which would generate as little additional state revenue as sports betting is incredibly unlikely.
While Florida sports betting fans shouldn’t hold their breath for widespread legal sports gambling, the Seminole Tribe could, under the compact, receive the capability to provide it at their seven casinos. While the Seminole Tribe has previously expressed an interest in being able to offer sports gambling at its Florida Hard Rock possessions, they have been silent on the matter inside the state of Florida.
Amendment 3 didn’t foreclose on any hope of sports gambling in Florida. But under the present gaming compact provisions, it would seem to be a costly undertaking for state lawmakers to permit someone aside from the Seminole Tribe to provide it exclusively, a choice that would surely render facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties unhappy.
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