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Speaker Says No Florida Gambling Bill without Compact Talks

February 14th, 2014 by Site Admin

Will Weatherford, the house speaker, said that the state gambling bill will not be successful until and unless it addresses the issue of expanding the games portfolio of the Seminole Tribe.

Weatherford further said that it is not possible to propose a gambling bill that does not have an impact on the state’s present compact with the Seminole Tribe. This compact includes a provision that permits the tribe to offer card and table games such as blackjack at the tribe’s properties, such as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. This provision has to be renewed otherwise it will expire in 2015.

The compact guarantees that the state will receive minimum tax revenue of $1 billion from the tribe’s properties over a period of five years. But the tribe need not pay if it is not permitted to expand its gambling portfolio.

So far, no bill has been proposed, and Weatherford says that it is time to have a talk about the future of gambling in Florida. Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, has already said that the state’s lawmakers will take all the time required “to negotiate the best arrangement for Florida.”

The Seminole Tribe has said that it wants to continue with the present compact.

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