The Seminoles, a federally-recognized tribe known for its monopoly in casino gaming in Florida, is pumping millions of dollars into a campaign to prevent out-of-state operators from entering the state’s gaming arena. The all-powerful Florida tribal gaming operator is financially aiding a new political committee called “Standing Up for Florida,” which has just launched a TV/digital media campaign with an ad titled “Watch Out, Florida.” The ad’s tagline is “Don’t Sign Petitions.”
While the Seminoles’ TV ad doesn’t name any out-of-state gaming company, its target is clearly LVS Corporation, which has long been trying to enter the promising gaming business in Florida, where the federally-recognized tribe is currently enjoying monopoly.
With an intention to enter the state’s gaming space by building and operating a casino resort, Las Vegas-based LVS Corporation has now partnered with Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians on a controversial ballot initiative called “Florida Voters in Charge,” which asks voters to amend the state’s constitution to allow North Florida’s pari-mutuel card rooms to become full-fledged casinos. But, any such move would obviously challenge the monopoly of the Seminoles.
If anyhow, the state’s voters allow the government to make amendments in the constitution, LVS and its partner would be able to buy a card room that they would transform into a casino resort. LVS wants to own a gaming property in or around the Jacksonville area of the state.
LVS is not the only commercial gaming company that is trying to challenge the gaming monopoly of the Seminoles. Well-established sports gaming giants DraftKings and FanDuel also want voters’ approval for creating a more inclusive mobile sports betting market so that they too could enjoy a share of the state’s promising gaming market.
To be placed on the ballot in 2022, the initiatives need approval from at least 891,589 registered state voters.
DraftKings and FanDuel are supporting a committee effort called, “Florida Education Champions,” which claims that putting an end to the Seminole tribe’s monopoly in the state gaming will generate more revenue for the state exchequer.
On the other hand, the Seminoles are arguing via their campaign that they make a huge financial contribution of $500 million to the state exchequer each year. They are also pointing out that they would have a case to re-negotiate the figure downwards if out-of-the-state commercial gaming companies are allowed to enter the state’s gaming space.