The state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe have finally reached an agreement in regards to their ongoing gambling dispute. The dispute stemmed from the tribe offering blackjack gaming at their gaming venues in the state. The Seminoles operate casinos in Hollywood and Tampa under their Hard Rock Casino brand.
With the new agreement, the tribe will be allowed to continue to offer blackjack games at their venues for the next fourteen years. The Associated Press has reported that in exchange, the state will receive a cut of gaming revenues from the tribe. The state will receive $220 million in immediate payments as part of the new deal.
Back in November, United States District Judge Robert Hinkle decided that the tribe could continue to offer their blackjack games despite the fact that their 2010 compact with the state had expired. When the old compact expired, the state wanted to see the tribe stop offering blackjack games. The tribe argued that the terms of the compact were null and void due to the state being in violation of the compact by allowing other gaming facilities games of a similar nature to blackjack.
Florida state law does not allow racinos to offer house-banked games however a go-around was fond by allowing players to act as the bank for the house. Racinos are allowed to offer non-banked games like traditional poker.
Barry Richard is an attorney representing the Seminole Tribe who stated after the agreement was announced that there is no loser in the deal. According to Richard, the new agreement gives the Seminole tribe finality and the security to know that the games can continue and the state will get a few hundred million in exchange.
While a deal has been reached, the state Legislature must give final approval. On top of that, the deal calls for regulators to take aggressive enforcement action against the card games that were previously allowed to take place within dog and horse race tracks.