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Florida Lawmaker Seeks To Extend Gambling Contract For Another Year

Let the games continue!

Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming) is pushing for a year extension of an agreement between the Seminole Tribe of Florida  and Florida that gives the Tribe exclusive rights for some games.  

The Seminole Tribe  wants to renew an exclusive gambling contract with the state. The Florida Senate is preparing a plan to extend part of the agreement with the Tribe to allow games such as blackjack at six tribe-owned casinos for another year.

“Well right now we’re in negotiations with the Seminole Tribe over that portion of the compact that deals with bank card games,” Bradley says.

Bradley chairs the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and is proposing the one-year extension. Bradley says the state would benefit from his plan.

“I think the state benefits because if we do not extend for a year then we lose about $140 million dollars which can be used, of course, to help pay for our record funding of education that we’d like to do this year as well as other for priorities for the people of the state of Florida,” Bradley says.

Meanwhile, the House has other ideas. Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa) is sponsoring a measure to establish two Las Vegas-style casinos. Many say Young’s plan would negate much of the Seminole compact agreement. That could mean losing some of the money the state gets for giving the Seminole Tribe exclusive gaming rights.

In 2012, the Seminole Gaming enterprise generated an estimate of $2.2 billion.

Bradley says there will be a hearing this week on the proposal. 

“What this does is it preserves the status quo so that we can have a good comfortable environment to sit down with the tribe and come up with long term solutions,” he says.

But what does the Tribe think of the idea? The Tribe’s spokesman Gary Bitner says, “The Seminole Tribe is now studying the proposal that came up on Friday.”

Without the extension, the gaming portion of the current agreement will end July 31st.