Florida House Democrats to Block Deal with Seminoles

Casino Watch Focus reported that this year’s Florida Legislative session was moving at its typical quick pace and the House had already passed a gambling bill to create a new gambling commission a Gov. Rick Scott asked the Senate to hold off passing similar measures until he had a chance to finalize a gambling compact with the Siminole Tribe. The State’s compact with the Siminoles will have a big impact on the direction or financial impact of gambling in Florida.  Now Florida Democrats have said they will block any new compact that doesn’t conform with their specific gambling demands.  An online source is reporting the demands:

House Democrats say they will kill a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe unless it includes more games for South Florida pari-mutuels.

Without the support of the Democratic caucus’ 44 members, the chamber won’t be able to ratify an agreement, House Select Committee on Gaming Chairman Rob Schenck acknowledged.

“The fate of the compact is in serious jeopardy if we do not have some bipartisan support. It?s a basic principle of math,” Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said.

Schenck’s arithmetic lesson is grounded in history. The House has historically balked at expansions of gambling and, as in the past, now includes more than a dozen conservative Republicans who will vote against any gambling-related legislation. That makes putting together a bipartisan coalition critical to get to the 61 votes needed for ratification.

If Gov Scott acquiesces to their demands, it builds in even more expanding gambling worries for Florida’s families.  If, however, Gov Scott doesn’t and the Democrats don’t ratify the new treaty, its possible no gambling bills will get through this session.  The online source explains:

The elements of any deal hinge on the tribe’s exclusive rights to have certain games, even if only in certain geographic areas, and revenue paid to the state. Federal law requires any revenue-sharing agreement with the state to include something of value for the tribe, and the feds have to sign off on any compact struck between Florida and the Seminoles.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is insisting that his chamber won’t authorize any legislation unless Scott finalizes a deal with the Seminoles.

Jim Shore, the Seminoles’ general counsel, wrote in an op-ed published in the Sun Sentinel newspaper earlier this month that the state should reject destination resort casinos included in a Senate gambling proposal and instead stick to its agreement with the tribe.

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