Florida Governor Charlie Christ to Discuss Casinos Issues With the Seminole Indian Tribe

As of April 8, 2007, if the state of Florida wants to take part in the Seminole Indian Nation’s $1.3 Billion gambling profits, state Gov. Charlie Christ may have to offer some form of concession to the tribe, like tribal exclusive rights for casino table games such as roulette, a geographical location that will give the Seminole Tribe an advantage over other businesses in the area or some form of exclusive tribal privileges, according to Indian gaming law experts.

After hitting a deadlock in the talks last year, the 2 sides are set to resume negotiations this month. For Florida, an agreement could bring in millions of dollars that the state needs annually. For the Seminole Tribe, it could finally get them the Las Vegas style slot equipment plus a great edge for Florida’s gambling industry.

Back in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger settled a tribal gaming deal which will bring $500 million yearly to the Treasury if the Legislature approves the deal. The state of Florida cannot offer the Seminole Indian Tribe the sole monopoly of Class III slot machines because the Las Vegas style machines are already placed at state operated “racinos”.

After the voters have allowed slot machines in 2004, 2 racing track casinos in Broward County opened last year – Gulfstream Park and Mardi Gras, which are located in Hallandale Beach. The Pompano Park Harness Track and the Dania Jai Alai are next in line. Until recently, profit sharing could only happen when the state gave a tribal nation an economic grant that is only exclusive to them, according to the Director of the Federal Office of Indian Gaming, George Skibine.

Skibine commented that they will continue to allow profit sharing agreements as long as the state offers something that they will benefit from. The Seminole Indian Tribe has opened a small tent which contains 63 slot machines on the Big Cypress reservation in the Everglades. The Seminoles already have 6 gambling casinos in the state of Florida.

The tribe’s gambling tent, which is built on land that the state considers of environmental importance, did not meet the approval of Gov. Bush. With the 2 parties heading back to the negotiating table, they might be forced to settle an agreement with all of the economic constraint that they will be experiencing. Florida will have about $1 billion which is much less than what it previously hoped for in the coming year even with the legislators trying to cut down property taxes.


01 July, 2007