The Seminole Tribe of Florida has been trying to get a deal through the state Senate and House of Representatives must first approve any deal to continue their casino exclusivity deal. In a huge turn of events, the proposed $3 billion gambling deal got a key Senate panel to approve it, as well as another related gambling measure. The deal was led by Gov. Rick Scott after he came to an agreement with the Tribe, where they would get a 20-year contract that would guarantee the state $3 billion over the next seven years, and pay out a total of $9 billion over the 20 years.
The 20-Year Deal
With the proposal being passed through the Senate panel, there is a lot more to the agreement than what meets the eye. The original agreement drafted by Gov. Scott had amendments made to it by state Senator Joe Negron, and the changes are what has many people worried, even the Seminole Tribe. The amendment made stated that there is a guarantee that Florida counties whose voters have approved gambling can have casinos.
The original deal with the Tribe would allow them to build an additional casino in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, but six other counties have approved gambling at pari-mutuels in their area, which would be allowed to have slot machines under the amendment made by Negron. To say the least, the tribe did not take too kindly to that. The original deal gave them exclusive rights to card games like blackjack, as well as give them rights to operate live dealer craps and roulette. They will still be able to operate these games exclusively, but having other casinos that can run slots will take business away.
Opposing Views on the Politics
Just like with everything in politics, there will be another side to the coin opposing any measure, bill, or agreement. With these new measures (SB 7072, SB 7074) being approved it would mean that gambling could expand throughout the state of Florida. Many have opposed both the agreement with the Seminole Tribe, as well as the amendments made. NoCasinos.org, a Florida political advocacy group stated,
The Seminole Compact was sold to Floridians as a firewall against the further expansion of gambling … Unfortunately, the new compact would not just explode gambling at tribal facilities, but across the state as well.
Regardless of whether the Tribe deal had actually passed or not, the state still relies heavily on the money generated by gambling. This left it open so that if the deal didn’t pass, the measures would still allow counties that voted in favor of gambling to open casinos; which would essentially replace the Indian casinos.
Positive Factors for Casino Deal
With issues between the legislation, Scott, the Seminoles, and other “racinos”, State Sen. Rob Bradley and State Rep. Jose Diaz were entrusted with finding a compromise. Diaz did make it a point to not rush into anything, seeing as how billions were on the line.
The numbers are indeed staggering. Money that can go to education and health care and critical infrastructure, Diaz told a reporter.
Now that the measures have passed, Florida can expect to see huge growth as casinos can now be built in any county that approves it. On top of the $9 billion that the Seminoles would pay during the 20-year deal, this would give the state a much bigger pool to get taxes from.