Florida legislators decided to leave the matter whether to expand gambling in the state to local voters to decide upon in November.
After spending weeks in trying to find out a solution to the ongoing difficulties with the state’s deal with the local Seminole Tribe, Florida legislative leaders revealed that they were unable to agree on possible gambling expansion. That is why they chose not to have a special legislative session in May.
This decision means that it is the state voters who are to decide who exactly (they or the local Legislature) should be given the power to determine if pari-mutuel operators in eight countries across the state would be able to offer slot machines in order to attract more customers to their facilities which have been facing some difficulties lately.
Pari-mutuel operators in eighth counties have gotten the green light from voters to offer slot machines. However, in case that Florida legislators permit the machines, they will breach the gaming compact between the state and the local Seminole tribe, as the latter is given the exclusive right to offer slot machines in its venues. In addition, the Indian nation has the right to offer blackjack at its casinos.
Last week, the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced that it had inked a new deal with the Governor under which it is set to still make its due monthly payments until May 2019.
Seminole Tribe of Florida to Still Make Payments
The expected constitutional amendment on the November ballot has pushed local lawmakers to the table of negotiations, with a number of companies and organisations, including Walt Disney Co., supporting the measure that would give local voters the right to make decisions about the fate of future gambling market expansions.
The President of Florida Senate Joe Negron explained that there has been considerable progress been made in the negotiations between House and Senate floors on an agreement to provide the customers in some counties while trying to cut the number of gambling shops on the territory of the state. The top negotiators for each of the two chambers – Representative Jose Oliva and Senator Bill Galvano – had been making efforts to reach a deal that would make sure that the Seminole Tribe of Florida would continue making payments to the state in return to the exclusive rights to provide certain games and gambling machines.
Currently, the Indian tribal nation pays $19.5 million on a monthly basis to the state, with an additional amount being paid at the end of the year. As Casino Guardian has previously reported, both the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe has been interested in keeping the compact going, with the state being aimed at preserving the compact payments while expanding the local gambling market.
Earlier in April 2018, the Indian tribal nation promised to continue making the payments to the state, despite the fact that the agreement was still pending.