Post Florida Election Implications for Gambling Expansion in the State

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing negotiations regarding the gambling compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe. Tribal casinos are the only gambling venues in the state to currently offer table games such as blackjack. This compact will be key to future gambling expansion efforts in Florida, especially those involving full-scale Vegas-style resort casinos. Florida Gov. Scott has been reelected and its generally assumed the negotiations will resume. A gathering of industry specific leaders took place in Miami for the annual Florida Gaming Congress to discuss gambling expansion issues. The Saint Peters Blog outlines the results:

Now that Gov. Rick Scott has secured re-election, he expects to resume negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Scott’s goal is to renew the agreement giving the tribe exclusive rights to table games such as blackjack in exchange for $1 billion over the next five years.

“We’re hopeful to continue the relationship that’s been so successful,” Seminole Gaming CEO James Allen told reporters after the gathering at the Hyatt Regency.

Nevertheless, the future of gambling in Florida is far from certain. Scott had called for a special session of the Legislature last spring to complete “the most lucrative compact ever,” but it never materialized. Resort casinos continue to seek state approval, as horse and dog tracks, as well as jai-alai frontons, seek consent for table games and a drop in the state’s 35-percent slot tax.

Meanwhile, the Seminoles have been making space at the Hollywood Seminole Paradise, tearing down spots like the Johnny Rockets, Blue Pointe and Tatu eateries. Experts predict the tribe will build a new hotel next to the current 500-room structure that is running at nearly 95 percent capacity. However, any such move must have approval from the Seminole tribal council, Allen said.

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