Late Monday it was announced that the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor Rick Scott came to an agreement for a new gambling deal that will secure billions of dollars for the state. The new deal will also allow for the southern portion of the state to expand gambling options.
According to information provided by Scott, the compact will generate $3 billion for Florida over a seven year time frame, beginning in 2017. The compact must first be ratified by the legislature of Florida before moving forward.
The tribe’s side of the deal will include the ability to continue offering card games like blackjack in their casino facilities across Florida. This will include the Seminole Hard Rock Casinos, with locations in Hollywood and Tampa. The tribe will also have the opportunity to add table games including craps and roulette.
Included in the agreement is the addition of slot gaming for the Palm Beach county dog track. The agreement also has an opening for a casino to be created in Miami-Dade and create a plan for existing tracks in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to add blackjack gaming.
Scott sent a letter to legislators of the state, praising the agreement, stating it would lead to a gaming environment that is stable and predictable for Florida. Scott stated that he executed the compact after months of collaboration, negotiation and discussion. The governor believes the compact represents an unprecedented level of cooperation between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which will include the largest revenue share guarantee in history. The $3 billion price tag is three times the amount of the prior contract of $1 billion.
It was five years ago that the state and the Seminoles reached the deal to allow for blackjack and additional card gaming for the tribal casinos. By giving the Seminoles sole rights to blackjack, the state was guaranteed $1 billion. This deal expired during the summer months and a grace period for the blackjack games ended back in October, as the governor and the tribe could not come to an agreement for a new compact.
Now, Scott and the Seminoles must wait and see how the Florida Legislature will receive their compact agreement. Some are in opposition of expanded gambling, feeling it may impact such tourists destinations as Disney World in a negative manner. However, Scott did involve legislators in the negotiations process, so the final agreement could be agreed upon without delay.