Seminoles, State Strike A Gambling Deal

Dec 8, 2015

Credit Steven Depolo

Florida Governor Rick Scott has hammered out a gaming agreement with the Seminole Indian tribe. The deal includes new games for the tribe and more money for the state. 

Under the deal the Seminole tribe will pay Florida more than 3-billion dollars over the next seven years. In exchange for the so called “revenue sharing,” the state will give the tribe exclusive rights to continue its Black Jack games and add new games including Craps and Roulette. Governor Rick Scott says he thinks the deal is good for the state.

“Under this compact there’s an obligation that the Seminoles will have to add more jobs—over 4,000 more jobs, direct and indirect. And during construction it would be over 14,000 jobs,” Scott says.

But Scott told reporters following the cabinet Tuesday, he realizes the legislature will have to sign off on the agreement. 

Anything that appears to be an expansion of the gaming industry has faced serious pushback from some lawmakers in recent years. But Senate President Andy Gardiner told says he feels the negotiations went well.

I don’t support the expansion of gaming, but I do support the institution of the Senate to make that decision as to what direction they want to go. And when I pursued becoming Senate president I made that very clear that the will of the Senate is where I would be,” Gardiner says.

And Gardiner points out there’s plenty of time for discussion and changes. He adds he and the rest of the legislature are still digging into the meat of the agreement. Meanwhile, other gaming stake holders are beginning to weigh in. The new agreement contains language that could pave the way for decoupling at pari-mutuel facilities. That could let pari-mutuels continue offering card games without a requirement to continue holding horse or dog races. And that has some groups like the United Florida Horsemen concerned.