Broward County commissioners delayed a decision on approving a formula that would allow them to lock in a percentage of revenue from the Seminole Gaming Compact (click here to see most recent version) currently winding its way through the Florida Legislature for the third time.
County administrator Bertha Henry explained a formula was released to her from a March 26, 2010 South Florida Regional Planning Council Study. The state is expected to collect upwards of $1 billion dollars of revenue over a five-year period from a Seminole Gaming Compact that Gov. Charlie Crist negotiated with the Seminole Tribe. The remainder of funds would go to the state’s general revenue fund.
The deal initially gave Coconut Creek and Hollywood the lion’s share of funding—with Coconut Creek getting 65% from Seminole Coconut Creek, Broward 7.5%, Coral Springs 15%, Margate 10% and Parkland, 2.5%.
Sales tax proceeds from Seminole Indian Casino-Hollywood and Seminole Hard Rock would delegate 15% to Broward, 65% to Hollywood, Davie 10%, Dania Beach 10% from each facility.
Henry spent some time negotiating a better percentage for Broward County, but still wasn’t satisfied with the results. She recommended accepting the three percent from the state and work on creating an inter-local agreement with the cities involved to continue negotiations on dividing the available revenue.
“I recommend this given that we had very little time to weigh in on what the distribution would be ,” said Bertha to county commissioners during its weekly board meeting. “We don’t have any real basis for (these numbers).”
Henry said she increased Broward’s percentage to 22%, with Hollywood dropping down to 55%. Local proceeds statewide are only around $4.5 million of a total $150 million expected the first year. Sixty-five percent of the $4.5 million would go to the Tampa gaming facilities, said a staff member with Henry’s office.
According to this story here, by the Real Estate Channel, the Seminoles netted $1.9 billion in 2008, with no clear figures yet for 2009. This represents a 19% increase over 1987. The story also notes that Vegas casino owners are trying to court the Florida Legislature into allowing additional casinos in the state.
The terms of the compact would give exclusive rights to operating blackjack, chemin de fer and baccarat for the Seminole Tribe at its five casinos in Immokalee, Broward and Tampa for five years as well as the rights to maintain at all seven of its casinos Class III slot machines for 20 years.
After five years, the Tribe would begin paying an amount determined by the profits. The pari-mutuels would not be allowed to offer those games, but would get a tax break on revenue 35% versus 50% and have expanded poker hours. If gambling is expanded outside the Tribe properties, they wouldn’t be required to pay the sales taxes.
During the discussion, commissioners were concerned about a lack of basis for the numbers of profit division in Broward County, and expressed concern it was just a money grab, especially with the House and Senate in Florida pushing for quick responses from the County else the state gets the funds.
The commission delayed any real decisions though, primarily over dissatisfaction with the terms, though there were concerns they could end up with nothing by doing so.
“I recommend pushing against—if I felt the county was in peril, I would back off,” said Henry, when asked if she was comfortable with delaying official action, especially since the item wasn’t on the action agenda.