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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 card games.

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.

Return to Florida Casinos.

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