They’re calling it a “new era in Florida gaming.” On Wednesday, the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced plans to expand their casino offerings to include sports betting as well as craps and roulette.
The tribe has been wanting to add these games since 2021, when they signed a new compact with the state. But court challenges prevented it, until last week when the US Supreme Court rejected an attempt to block implementation of the compact.
By not hearing the case, the high court also let a lower court ruling stand that could allow the Seminoles to offer online and mobile sports betting anywhere in the state.
For now, they’re starting with just in-person sports betting on tribal lands in their casinos. Though other cases pending in Florida courts could determine what games tribes and other casinos are allowed to offer throughout the state.
The 2021 compact was championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The expanded gambling options are projected to generate $2.5 billion in additional gaming revenue over the next five years and an estimated $6 billion through 2030.
"The Seminole Tribe of Florida's new initiative will create jobs, increase tourism, and provide billions in added revenue for our state," Florida Gov. (and presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis said. "I was proud to work with the Tribe on our historic Gaming Compact and I look forward to its full implementation."
The Seminoles control six of the seven licensed tribal casinos in Florida. Currently the games they offer are poker, slots, and table games such as blackjack, baccarat, three-card poker and casino war.
The plan laid out on Wednesday by the Seminoles calls for craps, roulette and sports betting to launch first on Dec. 7 at the three Seminole casinos in South Florida (Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, Seminole Classic in Hollywood and Seminole Coconut Creek). Then on Dec. 8 the new games will go live at the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa. The Seminole casinos in Immokalee (near Naples) and Brighton (on the northwest side of Lake Okeechobee) will launch the new offerings on Dec. 11.
"With the expansion of the new scope, we are creating over 1,000 new jobs made possible by the Compact," Seminole Gaming CEO and Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said. "This is a historic milestone that immediately puts Florida in the same league with the world's great gaming destinations."