Online gambling removed from Florida bill as gaming compact faces new hurdles

House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson have announced online gaming will not be part of any upcoming Florida sports betting bill.

They also revealed that Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida have agreed to remove the proposal, and that negotiations with the state can continue without discussing online gambling.

For weeks, DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe have been trying to negotiate a compact that would bring legal sports wagering to the state of Florida.

In the latest developments, online gambling has been removed due to fears the Seminole Tribe could possibly gain control of online gaming in Florida. Sprowls said that “even the mere possibility of this was unacceptable”.

In a statement, Sprowls said: “In my discussions with our members, I realised many shared the same concern as I, that some language in the compact could be construed to lead to the backdoor expansion of online gaming.”

Last week the tribe had sent a letter to DeSantis and Republican lawmakers, stating that the compact would not necessarily lead to the tribe controlling online gaming.

But it failed to persuade the Senate committee, as it agreed to remove the online wagering provision from the compact earlier this week.

Now the special session will continue and is expected to last the entire week, with hopes of there being a final agreement between the Tribe and Florida.

The deal struck by Seminole Tribe and DeSantis would see the tribe pay at least $2.5bn in the first five years of a 30-year agreement, one which could see Florida gain around $20bn in tax revenue.

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