Rick Scott says legislative inaction on Compact will cost jobs

rick scott ap photo 05-13

If lawmakers fail to act on the Seminole Compact, the Tribe will pursue its own nuclear option, laying off 3,700 workers statewide at its casinos, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday.

The governor spoke to reporters after a meeting of the Florida Cabinet.

“My responsibility was to work to get a Compact done,” he said. “My team put together a very good Compact for the citizens of our state. It’s up to the Legislature to make their decision on what they want to do.”

A new Seminole Compact is worth $3 billion over seven years in revenue share to the state, but also contains key provisions that critics say expand gambling in Florida, such as allowing the Tribe to offer craps and roulette.

Pari-mutuel operators, however, have long felt slighted over what they view as the state’s playing favorite with the Tribe.

So lawmakers, to appease those pari-mutuel interests, added on even more measures to expand gambling at horse and dog tracks, including slot machines and card games.

That ensured its demise among other legislators shy of seeming too cozy with gambling interests. Legislative leadership agreed that Compact approval and related gambling legislation is dead for the 2016 Legislative Session.

“According to the Seminoles, if the Compact is not passed, 3,700 people are going to lose their jobs,” Scott said. “The Legislature has the opportunity to make that decision (and) we still have (time) left in the Legislative Session,” which ends next Friday.

The tribe raised that possibility before when Scott met with its leaders in South Florida earlier this month.

Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen said approving the Compact would kick-start a $1.8 billion expansion of its facilities, including a new 36-floor South Florida hotel shaped like a giant guitar. It would also create more than temporary and permanent 19,000 jobs, he said.

But if the Legislature doesn’t sign off on the deal, Allen and Scott said up to 3,700 current casino employees could lose their jobs.

At that meeting, which was live-streamed on the Internet, several employees took the microphone to tell Scott about how the tribe had changed their lives, with some moved to tears.

A Seminole Tribe spokesman has said he may be releasing a statement on the Compact’s status on  Wednesday.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Steven Norton

    March 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    You would thing that the Florida Legislature would consider the Seminole compact important enough to separate the less critical aspects of the many gaming issues facing the State, and deal with the one that could cost $billions in revenue. The Tribe has an outstanding lawsuit with Florida, that will be decided by the Federal Courts, and could substantially impact future State income. Further delay will also impact new jobs, needed at the Seminole casinos, and several $ billion of promised construction of resort hotel accommodations. Decoupling of some pari-mutual’s, slots for several new counties, Fantasy Sports, and changes to the State Lottery can all be delayed for further study, but “time is of the essence” in the Seminole compact.

  • Walter Braun

    March 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    The Seminole Tribe is a horrible people to work for, they don’t care about their employee’s one bit. They create jobs so they can fire you for any made up reason. The Tampa property has the worse Management team I ever seen, basically their motto is if you don’t like it don’t let the door hit you in the ass. They have actually implemented a policy saying if their is a he said she said situation your both fired, it does not matter if your wrong or right at this property you will be fired.People in the Table Games department are totally unhappy working at this property.

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