TALLAHASSEE – Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court handed a major win to the Seminole Tribe of Florida this week, refusing to put the kibosh on a 30-year, multibillion-dollar deal that gave the tribe control of sports betting throughout the state.

As is customary, the court did not give reasons for declining to weigh in on a challenge filed by two pari-mutuel companies
But the decision keeps in the Seminoles’ hands control of online sports betting, which was included in a 2021 deal signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. and approved by the Legislature.
The agreement, known as a compact, is likely to bring big money to the state. Under the compact, the Seminoles agreed to pay Florida about $20 billion, including $2.5 billion over the first five years.
“It means members of the Seminole Tribe and all Floridians can count on a bright future made possible by the compact,” spokesman Gary Bitner said in an email.
Experts are projecting that the Supreme Court decision could cement the tribe’s control of sports betting indefinitely.
“For the foreseeable future, the status quo will remain in place, for at least several years, if not 30,” Daniel Wallach, an attorney who specializes in online gambling, told The News Service of Florida.
The case was focused on a “hub-and-spoke” system in the deal allowing the Seminoles to accept bets anywhere in the state, with the wagers run through servers on tribal land. The deal said bets “using a mobile app or other electronic device shall be deemed to be exclusively conducted by the tribe.”
U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose agency oversees tribal gambling, allowed the deal to go into effect.
Lawyers for the pari-mutuel companies West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. filed a federal lawsuit challenging her decision, arguing that the compact violates a federal law known as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, because it authorizes gambling off tribal lands.
A federal district judge agreed with the pari-mutuel companies in 2021, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in June reversed her ruling. The companies in February filed a petition seeking review at the Supreme Court after the full appellate court refused to reconsider the panel’s decision.


Legislative leaders are following through on a promise they made to state workers last week to keep afloat about 200 jobs after DeSantis vetoed more than $56 million from part of the state budget that pays for “legislative support services.”
The vetoes scrapped funding for joint legislative offices used to pay for such things as the Office of Economic & Demographic Research, the Old Capitol Museum, the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Demographic Research, joint legislative committees, the Florida Channel, and lobbyist registration services.
House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, plan to use what’s known as “rainy day reserve” money to keep the jobs going.
The legislative leaders on Monday issued a joint memo saying they intend to tap into the funds as a temporary solution.
“While the final resolution of this matter may require an act of the Legislature at a future date, we have determined that use of the Legislature’s rainy day reserve funding can temporarily bridge the gap,” the leaders wrote. “Florida law provides strong protections to ensure continuity of operations in our three independent, co-equal branches of government.”
The House has an “available balance” of about $105.9 million in “discretionary” funds, and the Senate has about $88.7 million, according to information on the state’s Transparency Florida website. But some of that money is already earmarked for other uses, said Katie Betta, a spokeswoman for Passidomo.
“Portions of the reserve funding have been dedicated to ongoing initiatives to improve security and promote public access in the Senate Office Building and areas of the Florida Capitol,” Betta told The News Service of Florida.
Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Sunny Isles Beach Democrat who will take over as minority leader after the November elections, said Passidomo will ensure that the roughly 200 employees affected by the vetoes are protected.
“I think Kathleen Passidomo is gonna make sure those people get paid and salaries are paid,” Pizzo said in a phone interview, adding that he thinks “she’s gonna try to do it in a very diplomatic, quiet but not clandestine or nefarious way.”


While saying Florida’s insurance market is improving, the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors on Wednesday backed a proposal that would lead to customers across the state seeing double-digit rate increases in 2025.

The proposal, in part, would lead to an average 13.5 percent rate increase for the most-common type of Citizens policy, known as homeowners’ “multi-peril” coverage. Condominium-unit owners would see an average 14.2 percent increase.
Across all personal lines of insurance — a category that includes policies for homeowners, condominium-unit owners, renters and mobile homes — the average increase would be 14 percent.
The proposal will go to the state Office of Insurance Regulation for review and potential approval. Actual increases for customers would vary based on factors such as where properties are located. A state law will cap increases at 14 percent for primary residences and 50 percent for non-primary residences, such as second homes.

STORY OF THE WEEK: In a major win for the Seminole Tribe, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to upend a 30-year, multibillion-dollar deal giving the tribe control of sports betting throughout Florida.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If we were not planning on investing in Florida, then you would not see these campaign offices opening, you would not see the hiring of staff.” — Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison on efforts to re-elect President Joe Biden.