Seminoles’ compact in Florida died in the Senate

A proposed bill which aimed to ratify a US$3 billion gambling deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe, folded in the Senate.

US.- Earlier this week the Senate Appropriations Committee postponed the hearing of the SB 7202 and a key House committee approved the HB 7109, a bill intended to bring the two chambers’ gambling measures closer together. Now, the deal between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe folded in the Senate.

Under this compact, the tribe committed to pay US$3 billion to the state for seven years in exchange for being allowed to add craps and roulette to its casino operations and slots in Palm Beach County, where voters have approved them and at a new facility in Miami-Dade County. All of this without affecting the revenue-sharing deal.

Lawmakers in both chambers agree that the initiative is dead. “It’s certainly on life support. Procedurally, it will be difficult to make it to the floor,” said, Rob Bradley, Senate Regulated Industries Chairman. “The bill had a lot of ornaments added to it, and the tree eventually gets too many ornaments and it falls over.”

Senate leaders believe the pari-mutuel industry is to blame on the demise of the legislation. The House and Senate plans would have allowed slot machines in at least five new counties and included a number of other perks for dog and horse tracks and jai alai operators.

In the meantime, gambling lobbyists, feel betrayed by Senate leaders for killing the bill as they believe the bill would have passed the measure had it reached the floor for a full vote. “There are many folks in leadership in the Senate who never wanted a gaming bill and were probably surprised that the House had taken such meaningful action,” said Brian Ballard, a lobbyist who represents the Palm Beach Kennel Club. “So the only way to stop it is to have it not available for the Senate floor.”