In 2010, the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida signed a gaming compact, clearing the way for the tribe to operate casinos on its land in the state, and for the state to receive cash payments. Those payments ended in 2018.
Now, a new compact is on the table. But it’s not 2010… and this compact could be headed for problems.
Under the agreement, which will need the legislature to act in a May 17 special session, the Seminole Tribe would get an expansion of roulette and craps, as well as the exclusive rights for the fastest growth sector in gambling: sports betting. The state would also start receiving payments again from the tribe, with estimates putting the yearly payments at $500 million.
Florida’s Amendment 3 took the right to authorize new casino gambling away from the Florida Legislature and gave that power to voters. The amendment, which passed with 71% support, limits virtually any expansion of gaming in the state, with an exception for the Seminole Tribe, one of the financial backers of the amendment.
“Our constitution says this is a decision that voters, not politicians, should be making,” says John Sowinski, the head of No Casinos. “This proposed compact violates the amendment in a number of different ways mainly because it doesn’t leave these decisions to voters.”