A huge step in the US gambling industry has been made, as Florida sign off on a new bill to use gambling revenue for wildlife conservation.

Florida Sign Off New Bill To Use Gambling Revenue For Wildlife Conservation

The bill was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which will put 96% of gambling revenue towards several land, water and wildlife safety schemes.

In 2021, an agreement was made between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida labeled the ‘Seminole Gaming Compact’ and it was designed to give full control of online sports betting to the Seminole Tribal Gaming Commission.

This decision was largely accepted but also came with its concerns, as operators in Florida’s gambling industry took legal action.

As a response, the tribe confirmed that it would pay parts of revenue back to the state of Florida totaling at around $20 billion and $2.5bn would be paid during the opening five years.

The Senate Bill 1638 managed to work its way through the various steps of the Florida Legislation system and ended up in the hands of Gov. Ron DeSantis – proposing the idea of using revenue funds for these wildlife initiatives

DeSantis spoke about the details of this bill and how the ‘bulk’ of revenue will be out towards restoration programs and pay around $750m per year.

He said: “The compact is in place, and we’re getting revenue share, and that’s good. So what are we going to do with that? We are going to dedicate the bulk of the revenue to these restoration programs.

“So we are looking at about $750 million a year to the state just from the Seminole Tribe gaming compact. That’s a lot of resources.”

The money will be sectioned into different subsections, with $100m going to the Florida Wildlife Corridor in relation to land/conservation deals, $100m will be used to fund state-owned land and rid them of certain animals and $100m will be used for Florida’s Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan.

The rest of the money will be placed towards Florida’s Water Quality Improvement Grant Program – around $79m in the opening year.

Marcellus Osceola, the Seminole Tribe Chairman, has expressed his delight over the allocation of funds towards protecting Florida’s land.

He said: “The Tribe is always going to be part of the state. This is our home. This is where we grew up. This is where we’ll be buried,”

“Myself and the governor may not be in these elected positions in the future, but the Tribe and the state will always be great partner going forward to protect all of the natural resources.”