Seminoles Win? The Tribe Halts Annual Payments to Florida

The state of Florida has been at the center of attention for the past couple of weeks, as the Seminole tribe went into a quarrel with the state officials over casino games.

The Seminoles have officially announced that they will stop paying an annual tax to the state, which was a direct response to a failure to reach an agreement. In other words, neither the state lawmakers nor the Seminole representatives made an effort to make peace with each other. The talks were given a deadline by a US senator, but it was breached.


Therefore, the Seminole Tribe in Florida, which is the owner of a popular Hard Rock, decided to make a final decision and stop paying Florida the taxes. The Tallahassee Democrat issued a report that the leadership of Seminoles officially sent a letter to Governor Ron Desantis in which they state that they have decided to put an end to the share of revenue that they gain from their gaming operations in the Sunshine State. The tribe currently owns six casinos in Florida, and by stopping with the payments they have made a serious impact on the budget of the state which will from now on have a $400 million hole that would be very difficult to fill.

The Future of Florida Gaming

The chairman of the tribal council, Marcellus Osceloa Jr., stated in the letter that the tribe and the state had been in a great relationship for a very long time, and that he hoped that the two sides would reach an agreement as soon as possible. In other words, he explained that he did not want to make strained relationships with the state, but believed that the state had failed to come up with a valid solution on its end, thus making him turning off the payment taps from the tribe.

On the other hand, the Governor of Florida is still expected to make an official comment about this unfortunate event. The outside counsel of the tribe, Barry Richard, stated that it is now up to the state to make a decision and make the right move. If the state stops with the “infringement” of what the tribe has exclusive rights on, then the tribe will have to resume their payments to the state. The temporary deal between the two sides was actually reached in April, but it proved to be short-lived and they resumed to their previous dispute.

The dispute actually started when the state included “designated-player games” in some of their pari-mutuel cardrooms. These types of games based on chance are offered by Hard Rock casinos which have an exclusive right on them in Florida. By introducing similar games to pari-mutuels, the state has directly infringed the tribe’s right on them, and the Seminoles had the right to put a stop to their payments to the state unless they reach an agreement.

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