Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Seminole Tribe finally came to an agreement in regards to gaming in the state, reaching a $3 billion gaming deal. However this deal is currently in jeopardy as the Florida Legislature may reject the deal. The decision may be made not to approve the gaming deal, even though the money would help the state financially.
On Thursday, the Florida Gaming Congress held their annual meeting at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort of Orlando, with Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano in attendance. Galvano is an author of a former deal Scott had been involved with and stated during the gathering of gambling industry executives that the gaming compact created last month by the governor and the tribe needs to have more input from operators of horse racing, dog tracks and additional parimutuels before it will be considered by legislature.
The Legislature may be more concerned with gambling statewide rather than helping the Seminole’s deal exclusively. Galvano stated during the gathering that there is a real possibility that the compact will not pass during this session. If the new compact is not passed, the state may face a new legal challenge by the Seminole Tribe on blackjack, which was part of the last deal.
If a new compact is not agreed upon, the tribe will have to stop offering such card games, according to information provided by Galvano. The Seminole Tribe CEO, James Allen, stated the tribe is within their legal rights to continue to operate the card games.
In a previous interview, Allen stated that the tribe’s goal is not to litigate the matter. The tribe would prefer to reach some kind of resolution, have a compact signed, and then continue to have a positive relationship with the state of Florida and continue to move forward for the next 20 years.
Allen is hopeful that the new compact will pass as the Tribe has negotiated with the Senate, House and the governor to create a ‘great foundation’ as the session takes place. According to Galvano, the compact will be reviewed by legislators by the second week of the 60 day session. The session begins on Tuesday. Galvano believes that if all concerns are to be addressed, it could take until the 2017 session.
Parimutuel companies are happy with the news that the state will take time to consider the compact, as they are not happy with the new negotiated deal. With the new agreement, the Seminole Tribe would have exclusive rights to operate craps, roulette and blackjack games in their seven casinos. In exchange, the tribe will offer revenue sharing payments for a 20 year time frame worth some $3 billion.