Despite ongoing litigation over its right to offer blackjack, the Seminole Tribe of Florida continues to pay gambling revenue share to the state, a total of nearly $40 million for the first two months of the year.
Stephen Lawson, spokesman for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Monday said the Tribe deposited the money to cover January and February. The department regulates gambling in the state.
The money will go into the state’s General Revenue Fund, Lawson previously said.
A federal judge ruled the state broke the original blackjack deal, which actually expired in 2015, and said the tribe can offer “banked card games” through 2030. The state appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In April, the Tribe and the state of Florida will attempt to mediate their dispute over exclusive rights to offer blackjack in return for a cut of revenue, FloridaPolitics.com reported earlier Monday.
The original 2010 deal actually wound up being worth more than $200 million per year in revenue share to state coffers. Blackjack and other gambling, including slots, has brought in billions for the tribe. The Seminoles offer blackjack at five of their seven casinos, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa.
A renewed blackjack agreement struck by Gov. Rick Scott promised $3 billion over seven years in revenue share to the state, but it failed to gain approval from lawmakers.
It is back before the Legislature this year as part of dueling gambling legislation: The House wants to contract gambling overall; the Senate would expand some gambling opportunities across the state.