Florida voters just made it more challenging to alter its legislation regarding gambling. What exactly does that mean to the future of sports betting in the nation?
Florida and Amendment 3
On election night, as most of the country was watching to see whether there was likely to become an ideological shift in Congress, many in the gambling industry were seeing another race in Florida.
This race did not involve the election of an individual; the race was for Florida Amendment 3, a ballot measure that could shift the power from legislators to voters to authorize brand new casino gaming in the nation.
The language of the measure has been as follows:
“This change ensures that Florida voters will have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling 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 explains that this amendment doesn’t conflict with federal legislation concerning state/tribal compacts.”
Where did the gambling amendment come out of?
Just two counties in Florida allow for”card games, casino games, and slot machines” at non-tribal owned facilities.
In 2004, before the current tribal compacts, under the watch of then-Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida voters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties handed a ballot initiative that allowed for slot machines in racing and jai-alai facilities, which had operated in the 2 years prior.
The change effectively means that in order for the state to expand casino gaming beyond the tribal casinos and present racing and pari-mutuel centers, voters in Florida would need to initiate the process by collecting enough signatures to get the petition added to a ballot.
“In Florida, the number of signatures necessary for an initiative is equivalent to 8 percent of the votes cast in the previous presidential elections. Florida also includes a touch supply requirement, which requires that signatures equivalent to 8% of the district-wide vote at at least half (14) of the nation’s 27 congressional districts have to be gathered.”
For reference, the 2016 Presidential election had 9,419,886 votes cast. Eight percent of the vote total is 753,591 signatures needed in order to acquire a casino expansion measure on a future ballot. This is an intimidating endeavor, without considering the demand for geographic distribution, which can be required.
There are, though, a few Florida-based groups that may have the ability to back a campaign of adequate size to collect these votes at a time later on. Two which come into mind are Disney and the Seminole Tribe. Indeed, the two Disney and the Seminoles were important backers for passing Amendment 3, supposedly putting in tens of millions of dollars to encourage the measure’s passage.
The opposition saw assistance from smaller gambling suppliers including West Flagler Associates and Hialeah Park, in addition to the Miami Dolphins, that (in)famously tweeted an image that implied that the passage of Amendment 3″would block any chance for lawful sports gambling in Florida.”
In the event the language of Amendment 3 appears complicated, that is because it is. The language used in the Amendment scored a grade-level position of 24 (the equivalent of having 24 decades of formal education 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 require a Ph.D. to see that the Amendment doesn’t mention sports. So, does that mean that Florida can start sports betting shortly?
What is’casino gambling’?
According to Ballotpedia, Amendment 3 defines casino gambling since card games, casino games and slot machines. There’s absolutely no mention of sports gambling. So, while it can appear that Amendment 3 leaves open the question of whether Florida can provide sports gambling, it neglects the much larger issue, the fact that the State of Florida includes a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
Sports gambling is Class III gaming based on the Federal Register:
Class III gaming means all forms of gaming That Aren’t class I gaming or class II gaming, including but not Limited to:
(a) Any home banking game, such as 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 craps, blackjack, and keno;
(b) Any slot machines as defined 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 doesn’t restrict sports gambling, the existing compact involving the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida may impose a few limitations.
What is from the Florida gaming compact?
The Compact, which was signed in 2010 between the Seminole Tribe and the country (it was amended in 2015 to add authorization for additional games), stated:
“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 offer certain Class III gaming and provides substantial exclusivity of these activities along with a reasonable revenue sharing agreement between the Tribe and the State that will entitle the State to significant earnings participation.”
From the”Covered Games” part of the compact, there is no mention of sports gambling, but There’s a statement that might seem to cover sports gambling as within the covered games segment:
“Any new sport approved by Florida law for any individual for any purpose, except for banked card games approved for any other federally recognized tribe pursuant to [the] Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, provided that the tribe has land in federal trust in the State at February 1, 2010.”
The tribe and the state agreed that the”Tribe is authorized to operate Covered Games on Indian Lands….” While Part IV of the compact excludes numerous games such as roulette and craps (which were then allowed) there is no mention of sports gambling, as explicitly excluded.
The compact identifies seven Seminole-owned casinos which can be enlarged or replaced but doesn’t authorize new construction beyond the present lands. In addition to abiding by state-sanctioned gaming rules, the tribe, in exchange for”tight but substantial exclusivity,” agreed to pay:
$12.5 million per month during the first 24 weeks of the arrangement;
After that, 12 percentage of net wins all amounts up to $2 billion;
15 percent on net wins between $2 and $3 billion;
17.5 percent on net wins between $3 billion and $3.5 billion;
As much as 25 percent on all levels greater than $4.5 billion per earnings sharing cycle.
These obligations are due on the 15th of each month for twenty years by the initiation of the compact.
What about online gaming?
For those expecting for internet gaming, there is a clause in the compact that statesif the state law has been changed to provide online gambling and tribal gaming revenue drops more than five percent from the previous twelve months, the tribe has to considerably reduce their payments into the state below the guaranteed minimums. However , this will not apply if the tribe offers online gambling, subject to express consent.
In case the Seminole Tribe loses exclusivity, the state of Florida will be in search of a fresh source of revenue. Part XII Section A. of the Compact states:
“If, after February 1, 2010, Florida law is amended by action of the Florida Legislature or an amendment to the Florida Constitution to allow (1) the performance of Class III gambling or other casino-style gaming at any location under the authority of this State that was not in operation as of February 1, 2010, or (2) new forms of Class III gambling or alternative casino-style gaming that weren’t in operation as of February 1, 2010.”
If this occur, the tribe is eligible to stop some of their obligations until such gaming is no longer operated. In the same way, if present non-tribal centers in Broward and Miami-Dade counties expand their Course III offerings, the Seminole Tribe can decrease some of their payments to the state also.
So, about sports gambling…
It is unlikely that Florida will observe sports gambling being provided by any thing apart from the Seminole Tribe.
The gaming compact negotiated between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is rewarding for the state and extremely helpful for the tribe. For an overview of how lucrative this compact is for the State of Florida in 2016, the Seminole Tribe paid over $300 million to the state. The chance that Florida would endanger even a portion of these payments to authorize something that would generate as small additional state revenue as sports betting is extremely unlikely.
While Florida sports betting fans shouldn’t hold their breath for widespread legal sports betting, the Seminole Tribe could, under the streamlined, get the ability to provide it in their casinos. While the Seminole Tribe has expressed an interest in being able to provide sports betting at its Florida Hard Rock possessions, they’ve been quiet on the issue within the state of Florida.
Amendment 3 did not foreclose on any hope of sports betting in Florida. However, under the present gaming compact terms, it would appear to be a costly undertaking for state lawmakers to permit someone aside from the Seminole Tribe to provide it entirely, a decision that would surely render facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties unhappy.
Read more: montanayouthrugby.org