Expected Florida gambling ‘compact’ cash zeroed out by federal judge

After a federal judge invalidated a gambling “compact” between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, economists released a report Wednesday that eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars a year in expected state revenue from the deal.

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Florida received $187.5 million from the deal between October 2021 and February 2022, but the tribe discontinued payments in March, according to the report by a panel of economists known as the Revenue Estimating Conference.

“It is currently unknown when or if they (payments) will resume into state accounts,” the report said. “The conference updated the (revenue) forecast to assume that no payments will be received within the forecast horizon.”

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In January, the economists had projected that the state would bring in more than $463 million from the deal in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, with the amount steadily climbing to more than $500 million in the 2025-2026 fiscal year. The deal, negotiated by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved last year by the Legislature, included allowing the tribe to operate sports betting in Florida.

But Washington, D.C.-based U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich on Nov. 22 ruled that the compact violated a federal law known as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because betting would occur off tribal property. Friedrich’s ruling has been appealed.