Compelling 60-second ad profiles solidity behind new Seminole Compact

desantis, ron - seminole tribe
Lawmakers are set to gather May 17 for a Special Session finalizing the new gaming deal.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is out with a new 60-second ad, aiming to rally support behind a new gaming compact with the state.

The ad drops with around two weeks to go before a Special Legislative Session will convene with the aim of finalizing that agreement.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida has a great story to share with all Floridians. It’s about the Tribe’s longtime partnership with the state and how the new Gaming Compact reinforces the Tribe’s steadfast commitment through a $2.5 billion revenue sharing guarantee over the first five years of the agreement, The Tribe said in a statement. “The people of Florida should know the future is secure and bright for their State and for the Seminole Tribe.”

The new minute long-spot, titled “The Seminole Story,” highlights existing economic benefits from the current gaming structure, and argues the new compact will expand those benefits.

“Amid a storm of challenge and loss, this Florida story gave rise to hope and our spirit to persevere,” the ad’s narrator begins.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock. One — a global icon for hospitality and entertainment. The other — ‘unconquered’ resilience — surviving extinction and poverty, only to create tens of thousands of jobs, billions in economic impact and billions more for vital government services. But quietly, without fanfare, the Seminoles and Hard Rock came through big for others: fighting hunger and disease, natural disasters, all to help and serve others. Today the Seminoles, Hard Rock and the people of Florida are prepared to do something even bigger, for the future they share and the state they love.”

The ad closes with remarks from Gov. Ron DeSantis during last month’s signing ceremony moving forward with the deal.

“This relationship from the Tribe is really going to be beneficial for the state of Florida,” the Governor said.

Gov. DeSantis estimated that the 75-page agreement would help raise $2.5 billion in new revenue over the next five years and $6 billion through 2030. The arrangement would run for the next 30 years.

Under the deal, sports betting would be allowed on Seminole properties, including digitally through the Hard Rock Digital app. Craps and roulette options would also be available on Seminole properties. And designated player games at non-Seminole properties — which have been a source of dispute in recent years — would be expressly permitted once the new deal is finalized.

There are legal questions surrounding the proposal. The U.S. Department of Interior must agree to the deal, and federal law permits gambling on tribal lands specifically. While the new compact regulates gaming activities on Seminole properties, the Hard Rock Digital component expands availability throughout the state, and some legal analysts say that presents a potential hurdle.

Florida’s constitution could also put up a roadblock. A 2018 amendment requires voters to approve any gambling expansion, though it does permit the state to negotiate separate deals “for the conduct of casino gambling on tribal lands.”

State officials, however, believe the compact fits within existing legal structures and are set to move forward with a Special Session on the compact beginning May 17.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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