Bureau of Indian Affairs questioned Seminole Tribe gaming deal

The Seminole Tribe owns and operates the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Timothy Wildey

The Bureau of Indian Affairs expressed doubts about a proposed Class III gaming compact for the Seminole Tribe, Florida Politics reports.

The agreement imposed questionable revenue sharing provisions on the tribe, the BIA's Office of Indian Gaming said in a letter posted by the site. The rates could be construed as imposing an illegal tax on the tribe's gaming enterprise, according to the agency.

“We would be hard-pressed to envision a scenario where we could lawfully approve or otherwise allow a compact to go into effect that calls for increased revenue sharing and reductions in existing exclusivity,” Paula Hart, the director of the office, wrote in the letter posted by Florida Politics.

Revenue sharing provisions are common in Class III gaming compacts. But the BIA says tribes must been offered a form of exclusivity to justify sharing their proceeds with state governments.

The tribe has already shared more than $1 billion under a compact that was approved by the BIA in 2010. The tribe has continued to send revenues to the state even though a federal judge last year ruled that the state violated the exclusivity provisions in the agreement.

Read More on the Story:
Letter: Feds may not have approved new Seminole Compact (Florida Politics 3/1)
Tribe rejects both gaming bills saying both 'don't make economic sense' for them (The Tampa Bay Times 3/1)

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