Maybe it's time for the Seminole Tribe to make a deal - Florida Politics

Maybe it’s time for the Seminole Tribe to make a deal

Let me offer some short, free and subtle (ahem) advice to our friends, The Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Go easy.

Our man in Tallahassee, Jim Rosica, reported this week that the Tribe’s lawyer “said his client is offended over gambling that violates its exclusive agreement with the state.”

They won’t agree to a new Seminole Compact, Barry Richard said, unless the Legislature ends attempts to expand slots and card games at pari-mutuels and allow daily fantasy play in state statute.

That was mostly a swipe at the Senate, which is A-OK with such moves.

And why not? As Senate President Joe Negron said of new slots, lawmakers “owe it to the hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens who … have approved (slot machine) referendums … They decided they wanted additional slots … I think that needs to be given great weight.”

I now direct your attention to Brian Ballard. The state’s lobbyist-in-chief, whom we suspect has a Batphone to the President of the United States, reps fantasy sports site FanDuel, as well as Churchill Downs, and other gaming interests.

More to the point, Ballard represents MGM Resorts International, which has nearly $1 billion invested in a casino planned for Springfield, Massachusetts.

As POLITICO recently reported, the Interior Department—which oversees Indian gaming—refused to sign off on the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes’ plans for a third Connecticut casino right across the border from MGM’s site.

That was after Secretary Ryan Zinke and others “held numerous meetings and phone calls with MGM lobbyists and the company’s Republican supporters in Congress.”

And remember, Donald Trump isn’t a big fan of Indian gaming.

In the early 1990s, Trump attacked expanding Native American–run casinos that he believed posed a threat to his own gambling empire, Newsweek has written. In media appearances, he claimed Native American reservations had fallen under mob control, and he questioned the ethnicity of Native Americans on a Connecticut reservation.

“ ‘I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations,’ Trump said during a 1993 radio interview with shock jock Don Imus,” the magazine reported. 

So, I dunno, maybe it’s time to make a deal that gives the pari-mutuels at least some of what they want. Otherwise the federal government may not approve any agreement the Legislature reaches.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  1. I don’t know peter the new deal is not insulting it just sounds stupid. When you given an ok till operate blackjack till 2030 and still continue to pay the state there fair share then why in the hell would you do a status quo for 3 billon over 7 years? Doesn’t make sense what so ever. And the slot portion was separate from the blackjack part. I don’t know about you but when you break an a agreement you should know the outcome to follow

    1. One of our Governors very few errors was the terrible deal with the tribe at the expense of eight counties home rule desires.

      When that happens, and towns like Gretna one of the States poorest communities finally seat at the table, and gets slots it will be up to the legislature to fill in the eviscerated budget after the Tribe goes to war with the Legislature and then must appeal to a Trump run Department of Interiors for resolution?

  2. They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one–They promised to take our land…and they took it.
    Chief Red Cloud – Oglala Lakota

  3. The seminole have made a deal.. in the form of a compact that the state keeps violating.. why should the state be trusted with any proposal.? 3 Billion in the first 7yrs of a new 20yr deal is without a doubt a non.starter.

    I never believed that the original compact should have ever hogtied voters right to slots where ever they lived. You pay taxes in florida.. should be allowed to vote for what you want in whatever county you live in.

    The current compact is unjust. Since voters legally voted to have slots in broward and dade.. then the same legal process should have been afforded to the rest of florida. What ever gambling is legal in Florida is legal to the tribe. And thats where the state went wrong in drafting that first compact. I believe it is illegal to hinder voter rights for the benefit of a few native americans and a few dollars.

    Ever since – its been lawsuit after lawsuit against florida from the seminole and florida has lost every single one at the cost of taxpayer dollars. Each violation of the compact has solidified the seminoles’ legal casino monopoly..

    Kill the compact and trade the seminoles the right to class iV status for a few million – as it should have been done in the very first place – and give the right to vote back to the people before the people take the right to vote back. Once that the people have the right to choose their own course in gambling.. what does it matter if the compact is ripped in half.?

    The state will state get its 35.percent cut from new business .. The tribal monopoly ends.. legitimate competition enters the fold.. And the roulette wheel spins.. Recreational marijuana becomes the next great cash cow for the state.. EVERYBODY WINS.!!

    1. Idk if you know but the tribe under law gets something called “above and beyond” meaning what everyone else gets they get plus more and don’t have to share revenue at all. Also let the counties have the slots lol it’s gonna be NOTHING compared to what the state gets from the compact I gurentee you this. The funny thing is that the tribe doesent mind getting a compact but can for sure live without it. You never really know how good you have something until it’s gone.

    2. Idk if you know but the tribe under law gets something called “above and beyond” meaning what everyone else gets they get plus more and don’t have to share revenue at all. Also let the counties have the slots lol it’s gonna be NOTHING compared to what the state gets from the compact I gurentee you this. The funny thing is that the tribe doesent mind getting a compact but can for sure live without it. You never really know how good you have something until it’s gone.

  4. There other interests in Florida beyond Disney and the Tribe’s Hard Rock Cafe.

    For example Gretna, FL a post agriculture community panhandle town eight hours drive away from the reservation that expanded to the I-10 corridor with the hopes of conducting gaming and bringing jobs to a jobless area.

    The post agricultural community has been denied session after session and beat down by the Florida Supreme Court last year for daring to question the South Florida tribal compact.

    If the House, Disney, and the Tribe won’t treat the voters in eight counties with respect and fairness, a 60.0001% vote that sidesteps the politicians in 2 years will give them a voice they don’t seem to have now.

  5. The State could easily make a deal that allows the Seminoles to pay a lessor amount – equal to the revenue state will get from slots at the 8 counties. But the Seminoles want the monopoly instead and have it all to themselves. They don’t want to compromise. Even though citizens have voted for it and voiced their opinion officially. What happened to “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” ??

    What is really best for the State and the people of Florida, is to allow local economies to flourish throughout the State by allowing their voices to be heard and awarding Slots to those Pari-Mutules.. By giving the Seminoles their monopoly is no different than outsourcing jobs to Mexico or China. It takes away from economy. Sure the State has the money in the form of a bigger budget. But it’s not really circulating and creating jobs widespread.

    The slots at racetrack would create a great economic ripple effect throughout the state. In the panhandle, Ebro, Grenta and Jacksonville facilities would attract most of the slot players that now go to Mississippi. And they wouldn’t have any affect on the “Family” brand Florida supposedly has. Our officials should be thinking about the economic, job creating aspect instead of thinking about the easy shut up money the state will get. Think jobs, and local economies and the voting public.

    I think it’s inevitable, slots at racetracks . Whether legislature makes a deal now, or the citizens vote it in – which will cause the compact to go away completely at which point the State will get nothing from the Seminoles.

  6. Ricardo I hope your not serious. It’s the same as Outsourcing jobs to Mexico or China? I’m sorry but I think your looking at it incorrectly. The Seminole tribe employs thousands of Floridians, doesn’t that mean the the jobs stay here in “Florida” not Mexico or China? So when you say outsourcing I don’t understand the point your trying to make.

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