Seminole Tribe of Florida to Continue Operating Card Games
June 24, 2015
The current gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state
is about to expire. A new compact has yet to be agreed upon. On Wednesday the
tribe informed Florida officials and Gov. Rick Scott that their casinos will
continue to operate card games, like blackjack until a new compact is approved.
Without a renewed gaming compact, the tribe may need to stop operating card
games at their casinos. However the Seminoles believe that continuing to operate
the card games is allowed because the tribe believes that state regulators
violated the compact when they allowed for race tracks to operate electronic
Issues with the current Florida gaming laws has caused other complications.
Developers are interested in building casinos on non tribal land. Owners of race
tracks are wanting to add slot machines at their facilities.
James Billie, the Seminole Tribal Council Chairman, wrote a five page letter
asking to resolve the gaming issue in the next 30 days. He would like both state
officials and tribal officials to meet for negotiations. He believes if this
cannot happen, mediation will have to occur. Then possibly a lawsuit in federal
court. In order to show good faith, the tribe will continue to make payments to
the state for the card games.
However the head of the the states gambling industry regulating committee, Sen.
Rob Bradley, disagrees with the Seminoles. He believes that the move was
predictable and a way to force negotiations to happen.
Exclusive rights to the operation for card games was given to the Seminoles in
2010. The state was guaranteed to be paid over $1 billion in revenue from the
games. The exclusive gaming rights will expire in July. The tribe may continue
to operate the games up to 90 days after the expiration.
Gov. Scott had tried to negotiate a new compact last year. The compact would
have allowed for additional table games such as roulette and craps at the tribes
casinos. An addition casino could also been approved on the Fort Pierce
reservation. $2 billion in revenue would have been paid to the state. However,
legislation rejected the proposal.
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