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Tribe Officially Stops Making Gambling Payments To State

darkly lit, soft focus photo of person gambling, playing a card game such as black jack.
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has stopped remitting gambling payments to the state. The tribe announced the move in a letter delivered to Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday. But it doesn’t come as a surprise.

A 2016 court ruling would have let the Seminole Tribe stop its payments to Florida long ago. Judge Robert Hinkle found designated player games approved by the state violated the tribe’s exclusive rights to offer banked card games, like black jack. The tribe agreed to keep paying the state in exchange for Florida officials working to shut down the designated player games. But the tribe says the state hasn’t done enough. Some had hoped to work out a new gambling deal with the tribe in the most recent legislative session. But as the close of session neared, Senate President Bill Galvano said no deal had been finalized.

“These things take time.  When we did the compact the last time it was a two session ordeal. Actually it was longer than that. It was actually four sessions. Because you had a deal and there was a lawsuit and then I got involved for the last two sessions,” Galvano said.

Galvano said the tribe had told officials it planned to stop its payments to the state at the end of session if no deal was reached. Lawmakers say that’s one reason they didn’t include revenue from the tribe in their budget calculations.