Five Florida pari-mutuels have entered into marketing agreements with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in preparation for the launch of sports betting in the state.
In a Thursday press release, the Seminole Tribe announced the new five-membered partnership, which includes signed agreements with Palm Beach Kennel Club, West Palm Beach; Hialeah Park Casino, Hialeah; Ocala Gainesville Poker and Ocala Breeder’s Sales Company, Ocala; Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa and TGT Poker & Racebook, Tampa. The pari-mutuels will market the sportsbook at their facilities and to their customers and in return earn 60 percent of the profits that are generated from their marketing efforts. Additional marketing agreements with Florida pari-mutuels are expected to be announced soon.
“The Gaming Compact is a mutually-beneficial partnership between the State and Seminole Tribe that positively impacts all Floridians,” said Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. “In addition to our revenue sharing contributions, we are hiring hundreds of Floridians and investing millions of dollars in the state.”
News of the pari-mutuel agreements comes on the heels of a historic compact struck in April between the Governor and the Seminoles, just one week before the 2021 Legislative Session was set to end. It was overwhelmingly approved with bipartisan support by the Florida Legislature in May and it was deemed approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior in August.
The deal is expected to give the Tribe exclusive rights over sports betting in the state, allowing the Tribe to open statewide mobile sports wagering and retail sportsbooks, which would only be offered through their own Hard Rock facilities, as well as through state pari-mutuels. The Tribe would also be able to add three additional casinos and oversee craps and roulette gaming exclusively. In return, the Seminoles would pay the state of Florida $500 million a year, or $150 million more than the old deal. The new Gaming Compact guarantees a minimum of $2.5 billion in revenue sharing for Florida over the first five years.
“As was promised when it was signed, this historic compact is expanding economic opportunity, tourism, and recreation in Florida,” said DeSantis. “Not only will this compact bring a guaranteed $2.5 billion in revenue over the next five years, but it also brings together Florida pari-mutuel businesses from across the state in a creative partnership with the Seminole Tribe providing increased access to safe and transparent sports betting in Florida. Today’s announcement is a great success for the state and the Seminole Tribe, and I look forward to the announcement of additional partnerships to come.”
But major sports betting operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, are attempting to spearhead a voting initiative led by Florida Education Champions that would expand online sports gambling beyond the proposed Seminole Tribe Compact. The newly-established sports-betting committee, formed to secure placement on the November 2022 ballot to authorize sports and event betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities, and statewide via online sports betting platforms, could play spoiler to the deal struck between DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe.
The state received its first monthly revenue sharing contribution — a $37 million payment — from the Seminole Tribe in October.
“Today’s announcement follows through on the Tribe’s commitment to include pari-mutuel marketing partners in Florida sports betting. They are an important component for the coming launch of sports betting throughout the state of Florida,” added Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and Chairman of Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe. “We have already exceeded the Compact’s requirement for a minimum of three pari-mutuel agreements and we look forward to developing more relationships with pari-mutuels around Florida.”