The Seminole Tribe of Florida has reportedly told legislators in Tallahassee that it is to cease making its monthly revenue sharing payments until the state officially settles a long-running dispute concerning the legal provision of ‘banked’ card games such as blackjack.
According to a report from the Miami Herald newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe divulged its move via a Tuesday letter that was hand-delivered to Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, after a temporary one-year extension to its current Class III gaming compact expired at the end of March.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is responsible for six casinos across southern Florida including the Las Vegas-style Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa and reportedly previously held the exclusive rights to offer ‘banked’ card games, which involve titles where players wager against the house. However, this exclusivity has now expired and the tribe is purportedly seeking an extension as part of a much larger renegotiation of its licensing deal with the state.
The Miami Herald reported that the tribe had negotiated the year-long extension to its gaming compact with previous Florida Governor, Rick Scott, in hopes that this would give the state enough time to come up with an acceptable solution. Despite efforts by the Florida State Senate, 40-year-old DeSantis, who only took up his post in January, purportedly detailed that he needed more time to study the matter.
“It is a 31-year commitment to the state. There is no way I could have done that. The Senate leadership negotiated, which they have the right to do, but I’m the chief negotiator for the state so I’m going to look at ways we can get the best deal for Florida. I’d like to get an agreement and we’ll work on it and maybe we can get something done by the time they come back in September.”
Owing to the volatility of the current relationship between the Seminole Tribe and the state, legislators did not include the estimated $350 million the tribe had been expected to contribute to the public coffers this year as part of their most recent $91.1 billion annual budget.