The state of Florida reached an agreement with the Seminole Tribe that extends the tribe’s current commitment for revenue sharing payments generated by gaming to the state through May 2019.
Gov. Rick Scott announced the agreement Wednesday afternoon.
“Today, I am proud to announce that the State of Florida has reached an agreement with the Seminole Tribe which ensures the Tribe’s current commitment remains intact,” Scott said in a written statement. “Since I took office, the Seminole Compact has generated more than $1.75 billion which has helped our state make historic investments in things like Florida’s education and environment. With today’s agreement, revenue sharing payments from the Tribe will carry on as the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) continues its work of aggressively following and enforcing Florida’s strict gaming laws and rules.
State lawmakers have spent the past couple of weeks working on details for a special session to deal with unresolved gaming issues with the Tribe. As of March 31, the agreement between the state and the Tribe that required the Seminoles to pay Florida approximately $300 million for the exclusive rights to gaming expired.
The Seminoles said they would continue making the payments even if they were no longer required to do so. However, the fact that the Tribe was no longer under obligation concerned legislative leaders who would face a large whole in their budget if the Seminoles did stop making payments.
Wednesday’s agreement will guarantee payments through the end of the 2019 legislative session giving legislators time to address the issue.
“The Tribe is committed to its long term compact with the State of Florida and intends to continue making revenue sharing payments as spelled out in the agreement,” said Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. “The gaming compact, which runs through the year 2030, is good for the people of Florida and good for the members of the Seminole Tribe. The Tribe is investing more than $2.4 billion to expand its Seminole Hard Rock Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood and is hiring thousands of Floridians to fill jobs in construction and as permanent team members.”
Issues that still need to be resolved include the offering of banked card games at parimutuel facilities and allowing slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties in areas where voters have approved them. The Tribe considers those issues as violations of its exclusivity agreement with the state.