In a letter addressed to Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the Seminole Tribe of Florida says that neither the House nor Senate gaming bills are acceptable.
“While the Tribe appreciates the efforts that have been devoted to developing these proposals, neither would satisfy the requirements of federal law, nor satisfy fundamental tribal concerns,” wrote Marcellus Osceola, Jr., Chairman of the Seminole Tribe, in a letter sent yesterday to the three leaders.
The letter goes on to claim that both the House and Senate bills would require “dramatic increases in the Tribes payments” to the state “without providing increases in the Tribe’s exclusivity” that would justify the higher revenue payments. Under the current Compact, negotiated by Governor Rick Scott in 2015, the Tribe agreed to pay the State of Florida up to $3 billion over seven years. But the Florida Legislature declined to ratify that agreement.
The letter also asserts that the House bill is “less objectionable” than the Senate bill in that it does not propose any new exceptions to the Tribe’s exclusivity agreements, and the Tribe claims that the Senate bill represents an expansion of gaming. But the Tribe makes no mention of the Senate proposal to decouple dog racing and jai alai from parimutuel facilities, which most experts say would result in a decline or disappearance altogether in gaming on those sports.
The Seminole Tribe also included a letter from the United States Department of the Interior, which concludes the federal government harbors concerns about both bills in that they may violate the federal prohibition against taxing tribal gaming. The letter is signed by Paula L. Hart, Director of the Office of Indian Gaming.
The full PDF of both letters can be viewed below: