The Seminole Tribe's former 2010 compact with the state of Florida expired in July. After the 90-day grace period allowing the tribe to continue offering table games passed, and after months of deliberation and legal disputes, last night, Gov. Rick Scott approved a new agreement with the tribe.
The 20-year compact includes a guarantee that the tribe will generate $3 billion in added revenue to the state over the course of seven years. In return, the deal gives the tribe the exclusive right to operate blackjack and to add craps and roulette to its casinos, reported tampabay.com.
The Florida House and Senate, as well as the U.S. Department of the Interior, still need to ratify the deal.
The compact caps the number of slots and table games that can be offered at the Seminoles' seven casinos across the state. While any one of its casinos can have up to 6,000 slots, the average of all seven must be less than 3,500. The max number of table games at any given Seminole casino will be 300, but the tribe must average at 150 table games across its seven facilities, reported sun-sentinel.com.
Gov. Scott called the $3 billion guarantee and the cap the "foundation of a stable and predictable gaming environment for the state of Florida," in a letter to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner on Monday.
Gov. Scott additionally touted the "4,800 new direct and indirect jobs with an additional 14,500 direct and indirect construction jobs" that the deal would bring to Florida, thanks to at least $1.8 billion in new expansions to Seminole-owned casinos.
The bill has a potential catch for tribal gaming. The compact would create the opportunity for the Legislature to allow pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties to expand their licenses to operate new slot casinos.
The agreement essentially lays out what the Legislature can do without violating the agreement and thus without permitting the Seminoles to cease payments to the state. For instance, if legislators grant blackjack to the existing pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the state will lose the revenue from the tribe's blackjack operations.