Efforts by the Seminole Tribe of Florida to block financial information from being published reveal that the tribe made $2.4 billion last year, the majority of which originated from the gambling business.
However, a public records request filed by the news site Politico prompted the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation to turn over a copy of a deposition made by Seminole Gaming CEO James Allen. Politico then published the disclosure information quoting Allen saying that of the Seminole’s $2.4 billion revenue from 2015, $2.2 billion of it originated from the tribe’s gambling business, particularly from its Hollywood and Tampa casinos; making last week’s attempt by the tribe to have the deposition blocked by a federal judge moot, according to the Associated Press. Initially, the tribe’s lawyers wanted the court to prevent the news site from publishing the disclosure information from the deposition “until the tribe could decide whether the material contained trade secrets,” but that request was withdrawn because there wasn’t a reason for the fight to continue when the court “can no longer afford the tribe meaningful relief,” according to CalvinAyre.
The battle between the tribe and the state of Florida over whether blackjack can continue being offered at the Seminole’s casinos is still ongoing. After key portions of the tribe’s original agreement with former Governor Crist expired on July 31, the tribe filed the federal Northern District of Florida lawsuit and the deposition was a part of the evidence that the state will present in October during the federal trial that is scheduled.
In December of 2015, an agreement was reached between the Seminole tribe and Governor Rick Scott that would have generated $3 billion for Florida over a seven-year period and rendered a trial unnecessary. But the Florida Legislature rejected the deal between the tribe and Gov. Scott during the session that ended in March after the bills also became host to a number of other gambling provisions deemed necessary to get the legislation passed, which undoubtedly led to its demise.
The Seminoles will operate their seven gambling properties under the terms of a compact that expired in 2015 while a new round of negotiations is opened with Scott, but a new compact won’t be approved until next year. The tribe and the state also have competing lawsuits that could be resolved this summer. The outcome of those suits could influence the discussions between the two parties.
Meanwhile, in February, the tribe debuted its new VIP Slots room reserved specifically for VIP guests at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, which features 85 slot machines, credit office, dedicated cage, ATM, lounge seating, restrooms and service bar, as well as a host of other amenities.