Bill Galvano tells Seminole Tribe his gambling bill “will move forward”
State Sen. Bill Galvano

Bill Galvano

Bill Galvano, the Florida Senate’s point man on gambling, has told the Seminole Tribe of Florida “inaction … is not an option” this year.

Galvano, the Bradenton Republican in line to be Senate President in 2018-20, responded this week to a letter sent by Tribal Chairman Marcellus Osceola to legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Scott.

Both chambers have gambling legislation filed this year with competing priorities, but both contemplate a new agreement, or “compact,” with the Tribe offering exclusive rights to keep offering blackjack in return for $3 billion in revenue share over seven years.

“Approval of a new, revised compact must occur concurrently with, and is interdependent upon, resolution of a number of gaming issues, including matters relating to and affecting Florida’s pari-mutuel industry, cardrooms, designated player games, blackjack, and operation of slot machine facilities in the referendum counties,” Galvano wrote.

“Without a doubt, resolving these matters will require patient and thoughtful, good-faith negotiations between and among all the affected parties,” he added. “I am prepared, on behalf of the Senate, to do just that.”

At the same time, he said the Senate’s gambling bill (SB 8) “will continue to move … forward.”

But Osceola had objected to the Senate bill, saying it “would require higher payments … (and) would add numerous additional exceptions to the Tribe’s exclusivity while broadly expanding gaming in Florida.”

He also included a copy of an advisory letter from the federal government’s top Indian gambling regulator, who said the feds would be “hard-pressed” to approve the proposed new blackjack agreement as is.

The Seminoles offer blackjack at five of their casinos, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa.

Galvano closed his own letter by asking for a meeting with members of the Tribe “to discuss this matter in detail.”

Meantime, an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling allowing the Tribe to keep offering blackjack, compact or no compact, has been scheduled for an April 11 mediation, court dockets show.

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]


4 comments

  • Eric Keaton

    March 8, 2017 at 5:48 am

    I wish anything in SB8 would get approved. Florida has been getting pretty good at getting sued by the Seminole and Losing while no else can sue the Tribe. Easy to make a billion dollars when the Feds got your back and 25 percent off the top.

    Florida you really need to play ball with these guys and take a hit unless you want the Feds to give these tree huggin hippies more control over what every county in Florida should have the god given right to have.

    When slots went legal in broward county that should have been it. Slots legal in all counties. Just like alcohol, tobacco products and pornography. Don’t act like your county doesn’t peddle that ish.. But like every bar in Florida… A gambling license with certain restrictions. And just like every bar in Florida with no limit to how much product gets sold.. There should be no limit on how many slot machines a business can accomade. Ever seen the slot machines in the 7-Eleven in Vegas.? There could be a machine in every Denny’s here in Broward.

    • Eric Keaton

      March 8, 2017 at 5:52 am

      *accommodate

  • Jason B

    March 8, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    tree huggin hippies? really? how old are you 90?

  • Ken

    March 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Florida politicians need to get off the fake Christian bandwagon and start doing what their bosses say. Have you ever played Blackjack at any Seminole casino? If you did you’d be begging for somewhere else to go. They won’t show you the cards. Their shoes regularly reach positive counts in the .03% probability range, with no post count drop. This tells me there are more low cards than high. Illegal anywhere else in the country. It’s time for a fair Blackjack game in Florida.

Comments are closed.


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