Florida Bill Invests Gambling Compact Money in the Environment

Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor, has given his approval to using gambling money to fund environmental projects.

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This week, he signed SB 1638 into law, which will see millions of dollars go towards environmental programs such as removing invasive species and the development and upkeep of a state wildlife corridor.

According to the bill, $536 million will be provided in the next fiscal year to help preserve Florida’s environment. In addition to protecting wildlife, some of the money will also go to replacing septic tanks with more modern sewers.

Related: Florida’s Gambling Helpline Overwhelmed amid Sports Betting Launch

Funds to Come from Gambling Compact

The funding is to come from a previous gambling compact, which was signed by the state and the Seminole Tribe in 2021. It allowed the tribe to provide additional games at its casinos and operate online sports betting in the state.

The tribe agreed to pay a total of $2.5 billion in installments over the first five years of betting operations and it will be paying additional money to the state through its 30-year agreement with the government.

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A Landmark Bill to Protect Florida’s Wildlife

DeSantis has called the bill “one in a series of landmark efforts” to care for Florida’s natural resources and help revive some of its natural treasures, such as the Everglades. The bill builds upon an earlier constitutional amendment that directs a percentage of real-estate transaction taxes toward conservation efforts.

In the next fiscal year, $100 million will be provided to acquire land that will boost conservation efforts. Furthermore, $150 million will go towards flood control and $96 million to land management.

The funding will go to organizations such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


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