$3 billon Seminole Gambling Compact Signed by Gov Scott Moves on to the Florida Legislature

Casino Watch Focus has reported  on the ongoing negotiations of the Seminole tribe and the Florida Legislature to come to terms on a new gambling compact for the state. It appears after many months of such negotiations, Florida Gov. Scott and the Seminoles have reached a $3 billion gambling deal.   In general, because of the exclusivity granted to the Seminoles for various gambling activities, its been viewed as a means of preventing the expansion of gambling in the state. However, as was previously reportedthat negotiations appeared to headed in the direction of leaving exclusive control with the Seminoles, but allow them to expand gambling and build even more casinos. Now, as Tampa Bay Times is reporting, a new compact has been agreed to that does expand gambling, but not all controlled exclusively by the Seminoles.

After months of negotiations, Gov. *Rick Scott* quietly signed a compact with the Seminole Tribe late Monday that will generate nearly $3 billion in added revenue to the state over seven years in exchange for the exclusive right to operate blackjack and add craps and roulette. The tribe previously wanted to open a new casino on its Fort Pierce lands but that was not allowed in this agreement.

[T]he measure also opens the door to expanded gaming, especially in South Florida where the Malaysian company, Genting, has said it wants to build a full casino resort on Biscayne Bay on the site of the former Miami Herald building. Under the compact, the tribe would continue to make payments even in the face of increased competition from a new Miami or Broward slots casino. The Fontainebleau in Miami Beach is also likely to compete for the slots license.

This is simply the first step in the process as the compact must now be approved by the Florida Legislature. There seems to already be a lot of concern about the fate of the compact as the Florida House and Senate are typically split on gambling issues. The Sunshine State News explains:

Far from a sure bet, Gov. Rick Scott’s $3.1 billion gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida is getting a tepid response from some legislative leaders, virtually guaranteeing that the proposal could require major changes to win enough support for passage. The agreement, signed by Scott and tribal Chairman James Billie on Monday, equates to a major expansion of gambling in Florida, bringing to the state craps and roulette for Seminole casinos and opening the door for slots and blackjack in areas where a previous agreement prohibited the games.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Tuesday said legislative approval, required for the pact to take effect, would be a “heavy lift.” “I suspect that this compact is DOA,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. “Because there are so many issues in it that different people are going to find problems with.”

The Miami lawyer also called Monday’s agreement a framework for future discussions. “There’s still a lot to get this in a position for the Legislature to make a decision,” Diaz said. “This bill sets parameters, but it doesn’t define them.” Lawmakers in 2010 sued then-Gov. Charlie Crist for entering an agreement with the Seminoles without their approval, and the Florida Supreme Court decided that such a deal requires ratification by the Legislature. Any deal between the tribe and the state also requires approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees Indian gaming.

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