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The Development in the Florida Gaming Talks

A gaming agreement that would include more banked card games for the Seminoles and a little more freedom for pari-mutuel facilities is in the works and will likely be approved by both sides on August 31st, 2009. The Seminole tribal council met on August 28th, 2009 to sign off the new gaming compact with Gov. Crist's office that the lead negotiator of the Florida House stated could be acceptable to them.

Earlier this year, the House forced the Senate to approve a more conservative gaming deal. Rep. Bill Galvano (Republican-Bradenton) said that he is optimistic that they can create a new agreement since everyone is trying its best to fulfill that goal. Compared with the first gaming proposal created by legislators earlier this year, the new gaming agreement being work out will permit the tribe to continue offering banked card games like blackjack at more gaming venues.

The propose agreement would also permit the tribe to keep the card games already being offered at its Immokalee casino facility. It permits the tribe to offer card games at its 2 Hard Rock facilities in Hollywood and Tampa and at its casino facility in Broward. It also proposes to allow the tribe to add banked card games to its Big Cypress and Brighton casino facilities.

But Representative Galvano said that legislators would likely be willing to permit card games at Immokalee but much less likely to allow card games at Brighton and Big Cypress. Florida wants the Seminoles to guarantee at least $150 million annually for the chance to offer Las Vegas-style slot machines and card games at a more limited number of gaming facilities.

Galvano said that the tribe wants the minimum threshold to be closer to $100 million annually. The Seminole tribe and Gov. Crist's office have agreement to a payment scheme in which the Seminoles would pay $12.5 million a month for two years.

If casino earnings reach $2 billion, the tribe will pay 10% to Florida. The payment scale increases incrementally, with Seminoles paying twenty-five percent of revenues in excess of $4 billion.

Legislators want to limit the $12.5 million annually then increased the payments more quickly up to 12.5% after $2 billion. The Seminoles wants to maintain exclusivity outside of the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward.

Galvano said that the legislators want to limit the Seminole's exclusivity to one hundred miles. Those close to the talks said that both sides were closing in on an agreement that will hopefully satisfy all parties.


Sunday, September 06 , 2009
Kim Watson