Crist signs Seminole Gaming Compact into law
On Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Seminole Gaming Compact after several years of negotiation. The Florida House passed the gaming compact last week with the Seminole Tribe that limits gaming and its expansion in Florida and guarantees the state a minimum of $1 billion over five years. The House passed Senate Bill (SB) 622 by a vote of 74-39.
“Today’s bill signing is the last step in a historic effort that benefits both the Seminole Tribe and the entire state of Florida. Following three years of healthy debate and deliberation, the children and families of Florida are now the beneficiaries of much-needed money that will be used to fund critical needs such as education.
“With this signing, Florida has the immediate use of $250 million, already on hand, and makes way for even more revenue to meet the needs of our state for decades to come – a total of $1.2 billion during the first five years.
“I want to thank Senator Dennis Jones and Chairman Bill Galvano for helping secure a favorable compact for the Sunshine State. The compact’s approval is an example of elevating problem-solving over ideology.”
Despite Broward County’s waffling on making a decision, the state moved forward with deciding their share of the revenue. Local governments affected by the five casinos in the compact will split a three percent share, expected to be around $5 million of the $150 million annual revenues expected.
In Broward County, there are three casinos. With the revenue proceeds from the Seminole Indian Casino in Coconut Creek, Broward County shall receive 22.5 percent, the City of Coconut Creek shall receive 55 percent, the City of Coral Springs shall receive 12 percent, the City of Margate shall receive 8.5 percent, and the City of Parkland shall receive 2 percent of the local government share.
Broward County will receive 25 percent, the City of Hollywood shall receive 55 percent, the Town of Davie shall receive 10 percent, and the City of Dania Beach shall receive 10 percent of the local government share derived from the Seminole Indian Casino-Hollywood.
For the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Broward County shall receive 25 percent, the City of Hollywood shall receive 55 percent, the Town of Davie shall receive 10 percent, and the City of Dania Beach shall receive 10 percent of the local government share.
Despite the struggles to get the compact down, members of the Florida House were pleased.
“For 20 years, Florida has been negotiating with the Seminoles on the issue of gaming. Governor Crist’s 2007 compact – which was invalidated by the Supreme Court – and the U.S. Department of Interior’s refusal to enforce the law placed the Legislature in a difficult position. I am proud that we were able to develop a compact that both limited gaming and brought the state more revenue than the prior proposed compacts,” said Representative Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton).
Specific Revenue Sharing in New Compact:
- The $250 million already paid by the Tribe to the State will be held in General Revenue and be available for appropriation.
- The Compact provides for a guaranteed minimum payment of $1 billion dollars over 5 years, $250 million more than what was set forth in the both SB 788 and the August 31 proposed compact: $150 million per year in the first 2 years of the Compact, a guaranteed minimum of $233 million per year in years 3 and 4, and $234 million in year 5.
- After the first two years, the Tribe would pay the state the greater of the guaranteed minimum or a graduated percentage of net win:
o 12% of net win up to $2.0 billion;
o 15% of the net win from $2.0 billion up to and including $3.0 billion;
o 17.5% of the net win from $3.0 billion up to and including $3.5 billion;
o 20% of the net win from $3.5 billion up to and including $4.0 billion;
o 22.5% of the net win from $4.0 billion up to and including $4.5 billion; and
o 25% of the net win over $4.5 billion.
Under the Governor’s original compact, the Tribe was authorized to operate banked card games such as blackjack at seven gaming facilities. SB 622 reduces the amount of facilities authorized to offer banked card games to five.
The compact will allow banked card games for the next five years. If after five years the compact is not extended by the Legislature and the Governor, then the tribe will have 90 days to cease operating banked card games.
At the end of five years and in the absence of a new Compact, there are no guaranteed minimums for the Class III slots that would continue to be offered by the Tribe. The revenue share payment for the remaining 15 years of the slots only compact would be based on the Tribe’s net win outside Broward, provided they maintained the exclusivity that justifies the revenue sharing.
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The Broward Seminoles (Hard Rock franchise only!!!) having exclusive Blackjack is a monopoly. Let all other casino companies (like “The Isle at Pompano”)have blackjack and thus fair competition between businesses. Do it now, and get more tax $$$$ for the state.
I agree with you Ron. So many jobs could be created if the Seminole Indians didn’t have exclusive rights to gambling. It must have been one sweet deal. I guess that’s why they say that money talks.