In a surprise announcement in the middle of a Florida Senate budget hearing, state Senator Garrett Richter said due to ongoing negotiations between Governor Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, “there won’t be any comprehensive reform legislation this year. Sound policy must take into account the compact’s substantial revenue sharing and exclusivity provisions.” Richter had previously actively pushed for expanding gambling in the state.
The overall compact between the state and the Seminoles will end in 2030, but Scott and the tribe are negotiating provisions that will end next year. It gives the tribe exclusive rights to operate banked card games like blackjack at five of its seven facilities for five years. In exchange, the tribe agreed to pay the state a minimum of $1 billion.
The Seminoles can halt those payments if slot machines are allowed anywhere outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, excluding those operated by other tribes. The tribe also can reduce the payments if South Florida parimutuels are allowed to have banked card games, or if slots are authorized at any facilities that were not already operating in Broward or Miami-Dade, except for Hialeah Race Track, when the deal was signed.
Richter said, “If we put the gaming reform cart in front of the Seminole compact horse, we run the risk of getting policies at cross purposes.”