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August 11th, 2021 Weekly Report
This week’s sports news report covers the DOI’s recent approval of a new Florida gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. Arizona moves one step closer to legal sports betting with the formation of 10 major gaming partnerships. Finally, the New York State Gaming Commission has collected six bids to operate legal mobile sports betting in the state.
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- Federal Officials Approve New Florida Seminoles Gaming Compact
- Arizona Moves Closer to Sports Betting Launch as Major Partnerships Form
- New York Receives Six Bids for Legal Mobile Sports Betting
FEDERAL OFFICIALS APPROVE NEW FLORIDA SEMINOLES GAMING COMPACT
The US Department of the Interior (DOI) recently signed-off on a new gaming compact in Florida for the Seminole Tribe. Earlier this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe were able to come together on the new 30-year deal.
Florida’s Republican-led House and Senate passed legislation approving the new compact in the spring. The expansion of gaming in that legislation legalized sports betting across the state. It also added Roulette and Craps tables to the mix in seven Seminole-owned casinos. The DOI is responsible for overseeing all tribal gaming operations in the US. This involves the review and ultimate approval of any new or revised gaming compacts with the tribes.
Gov. DeSantis has been a strong proponent of legal sports betting in the state. He added the following comments as part of a prepared statement:
“The final approval of this historic gaming compact is a big deal for the State of Florida. This mutually-beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians.”
Terms of the new compact include a guaranteed payment of $2.5 billion to the state from the Seminole Tribe. This covers the first five years of the new deal. That could increase to $6 billion through 2030 and $20 billion over the full 30-year term. Marcellus Osceola Jr. is the current chairman of the Seminole Tribe. He added the following thoughts on the new agreement with the state:
“Today is a great day for the people of Florida, who will benefit not only from a $2.5 billion revenue sharing guarantee over five years, but also from statewide sports betting and new casino games that will roll out this fall and mean more jobs for Floridians and more money invested in this state.”
Other terms of the new gaming compact set Oct. 15 as the official launch date for legal sports betting. This includes the casino properties as well as horse tracks, jai alai frontons and former dog racing tracks. Legal online sports betting has also been approved. This will be operated by the Seminole Tribe as well.
Opposition to the new 30-year deal remains strong in certain parts of the state. State Democratic lawmakers have argued that the compact violates Amendment 3. This was passed by Florida voters in 2018.
That particular amendment to the state constitution prevents the expansion of gambling outside of tribal lands without a voter referendum for approval. Nonetheless, plans for the Oct. 15 launch of legal sports betting are underway following the DOI approval.
ARIZONA MOVES CLOSER TO SPORTS BETTING LAUNCH AS MAJOR PARTNERSHIPS FORM
Arizona is one of the few states that remains on track for an early September launch of legal sports betting. More than a few states with legislation already in place have run into unexpected delays in their planned launch. The date circled on everyone’s calendar is Thursday, Sept. 9 to coincide with the start of the 2021 NFL regular season. While Maryland, Louisiana and Connecticut may come up short of this date, Arizona remains on track.
The Arizona Department of Gaming is in the process of issuing licenses upon the approval of several applications. This process has led to the formation of major gaming partnerships across the state. The new gaming laws and regulations have earmarked 10 sports betting licenses for tribal casinos. Another 10 will be issued for professional sports venues and in-state pro sport teams.
While WynnBet Arizona has partnered with the San Carlos Apache Tribe, DraftKings struck a deal with TPC Scottsdale. FanDuel gains entry into Arizona through a partnership with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. BetMGM has made the biggest splash in its rollout plans in the state. One part of the gaming partnership is with the Gila River Nation Community, which owns and operates Gila River Hotels & Casinos.
The other strategic agreement is with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. This is easily the biggest prize in the potential group of Arizona gaming partners. This trio has already released plans to build four retail sports betting venues in the Phoenix area. The Cardinals will also be able to offer legal sports betting at State Farm Stadium as their home field.
That retail sportsbook will also be co-branded with BetMGM and Gila River. The Gila River Nation owns and operates three land-based casinos in the Phoenix metro area. This list includes Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva and Lone Butte. An Arizona sports betting license cost $850,000 as a one-time fee. Gross revenue from legal sports betting will be taxed at 10% for all online and mobile wagers. The tax rate for wagers placed at retail sportsbooks in Arizona is set at 8%.
To date, 10 gaming partnerships have been formed with legal US sportsbook operators. The only pro franchise in Arizona that has yet to announce a partnership deal is the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.
NEW YORK RECEIVES SIX BIDS FOR LEGAL MOBILE SPORTS BETTING
The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) recently wrapped up the process for applications for legal mobile sports betting. One superbid in the list of six involved Bally Bet, BetMGM and DraftKings with FanDuel set as the primary applicant. Kambi is a major global sports betting platform provider. Its superbid partners included:
- Caesars Sportsbook. As a major gaming and entertainment company based in Reno, Caesars has recently gone all in with its sports betting plans. This follows the decision to rebrand its William Hill sportsbook under the Caesars’ name.
- WynnBET is also part of this group. As another huge gaming company based in Nevada, it is also trying to make up some ground in the legal US market.
- As a global gaming force, Genting Malaysia threw its hat in the ring in conjunction with Resorts World Catskills. This could provide some home field advantage as a New York land-based casino already offering legal sports betting.
- PointsBet and Rush Street Interactive were the other two US operators included in this bid.
Three legal US operators decided to go it alone. Those three bids came from bet365, FOX Bet and theScore Bet. The NYSGC is obligated to select at least two bids. However, it has the option to add more to the list. The deadline to make a formal decision has been set for Dec. 6.
There are still quite a few details to be worked out. Topping the list is the revenue share between the winning operator and the state. Some estimates have this figure as high as 60%.
The primary applicant in each bid assumes the role as the platform provider even if there are multiple betting platforms involved. The minimum licensing requirement calls for two platform providers with four sports betting operators. All successful bidders must agree to whatever sports betting revenue share is offered. This sets the stage for a winner-take-all scenario if only one bid agrees to the revenue share.
Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.