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Lawmakers Fail to Push the Gambling Bills in Florida

- March 2, 2016 By Oliver Young -

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The Seminole contract appears moot for another year

It appears that the lawmakers in Florida have failed in their efforts to push the gambling bills after an important Senate committee decided not to bring the subject on the table for vote. This includes the new $3 billion 20-year compact with the Seminole Tribe.

The legislature in the US state will wrap things up for the year on March 11, 2016 and there were high hopes that the compact Governor Rick Scott made with the Seminole Tribe last December will be voted on. However, some last minute proposals by the House Finance and Tax Committee at the beginning of the week put off the gambling bills that were tabled on Tuesday.

Bills Have Small Chances of Being Revived

According to local media, the chances are very small for the bills to be revived at the next meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow. However, whether or not this will happen depends on the Senator Rob Bradley who sponsors the bills and formally approved the compact with the Seminoles.

Bradley said that the bills have too many gaming options to find enough support for passage. These include the approval of slots in five more countries, allowing horseracing tracks with card games and slots and requiring voting on future gambling expansions.

It appears that there will also be a temporary freeze on the efforts to regulate daily fantasy sports. This has been bundled into the deal with the Seminoles because of fears that the tribe will cite a separate bill on DFS as an expansion of gambling and this will violate the compact’s terms and conditions.

If the bill won’t make it on the table tomorrow, lawmakers will have to wait until 2017 for reconsidering. In the meantime, the tribe is still paying approximately $100 million under the expired terms of the compact which allows it to operate slots outside Broward and Miami-Dade.

Will the Seminole Compact Be Subject to Debate in 2017?

Until July 2015, the Seminole Tribe has been enjoying the exclusive rights to offer table and card games such as blackjack under the terms of the expired deal. The tribe and the state are currently engaged in a federal lawsuit over the rights of the Seminoles to offer card games which will perhaps come to a conclusion before the new compact can be given thumbs up.

Under the terms of the new compact, the tribe would have had the exclusive rights to offers roulette games and craps, In turn, the Seminoles agreed to allow other operators to offer slots in two countries and to make payments to the state of at least $3 billion for the first seven years. This however, appears to be questionable for another year.

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