Seminole Tribe renews bid to negotiate Class III casino compact

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Photo from Facebook

The Seminole Tribe is once again asking the state of Florida to come to the table and negotiate a new Class III gaming compact.

The tribe almost reached a deal with Gov. Rick Scott (R) last year. But he has refused to continue negotiations due to objections from state lawmakers.

Lawmakers haven't done any better. They ended their regular session on Friday without passing any gaming measures, including one that would have extended the tribe's compact for another year.

"We trust the state will fully comply with its obligation under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to commence good faith negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida," Chairman James E. Billie said in a letter to Scott and legislative leaders, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Billie said his letter invokes a provision in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that requires the state to respond within 180 days. But the tribe's options down the line appear to be limited by the 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Seminole Tribe v. Florida that protects the state from being sued under IGRA.

Since 2010, the tribe has shared more than $1 billion with the state in exchange for regional exclusivity on certain Class III games. Key provisions of the deal expire July 31 so time is running out to negotiate an extension.

According to news reports, the tribe is supposed to stop offering blackjack if a new deal isn't reached. The compact has a 90-day grace period that ends October 29.

Get the Story:
After legislative shutdown, Seminole Tribe calls for state to begin 'good faith' gambling negotiations (The South Florida Sun-Sentinel 5/2)
Clock running down for blackjack at state’s Seminole casinos (The Tampa Bay Tribune 5/2)
Seminoles call for new talks with state over blackjack deal (The Tampa Bay Tribune 5/1)

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