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Seminole Tribe Not Worried After Failure of the Legislature’s Gaming Package

March 15th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
Gambling is one of the most difficult topics for the State Legislature to agree on.
“The pun is there’s a lot of chiefs in this one. Right? Everybody has something they want. So when you get more players in the room it’s a lot harder to come to a deal,” said State Senator Travis Hutson.
The biggest player in the room is the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which pays the state $300 million a year for exclusive rights to many types of gambling in the state.
Barry Richard represents the tribe. He says the tribe had hoped the Legislature would crack down on attempts to infringe on the tribes exclusivity in any gaming deal.
“Beyond that, I think it’s just a matter of whether or not the Legislature proposes a deal that makes sense to the tribe,” said Richard.
Despite early optimism for the passage of gaming reform in the state,  lawmakers ultimately folded on the last day their annual session, as they have for the past decade… and this year may have been lawmakers last chance to have a say on many gaming issues.
If a proposed constitutional amendment gets more than 60% of the vote in November, voters will have to approve any future change to the state’s gambling laws.
The tribe is secure in their deal with the state until at least 2030.
As an added bonus, any future deal would be exempt from voter approval under the amendment.
“They would be able to make the same deal with the tribe that the could have made before, except they can’t expand gaming outside of the tribal lands,” said Richard.
But the legal status of fantasy sports and pre-reveal games, along with greyhound racing and the expansion of slot machines could soon be left for voters to decide.
Since 1978 Florida voters have voted down 3 attempts at introducing casinos to the state, although voters did approve slots in Miami-Date County in 2004.

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