Jackpot? Judge could reconsider ‘pre-reveal’ slot machine ruling


A Tallahassee judge has agreed to hear arguments on why he should reconsider his ruling that stand-alone consoles known as “pre-reveal” games are not illegal slot machines.

Judge John Cooper set a hearing for June 19 in the Leon County Courthouse, court dockets show, after the Seminole Tribe of Florida asked to intervene.

The move also puts a hold on an appeal filed in the 1st District Court of Appeal by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), which regulates gambling.

The Tribe will argue that Cooper’s decision “upends the Compact,” the 2010 agreement between the Tribe and the state for exclusive rights to offer certain gambling in return for a cut of the revenue. That could cost the state “multi-billions of dollars.”

“The court’s decision would lead to an unprecedented expansion of slot machine gambling in the state, destroying the exclusivity that the Tribe bargained for,” says a memo by Barry Richard, the Tribe’s outside counsel in Tallahassee.

As one person in Florida’s gambling industry, who asked not to be named, said after the ruling, “I see a giant wave coming … My phone is blowing up from people (at pari-mutuels) who want” pre-reveal games.

Lawmakers, who failed to agree on comprehensive gambling legislation this year, also were concerned the games would soon inundate bars, restaurants and even “family fun centers,” where they could be played by children.

The devices look and play like a slot machine, Cooper reasoned, but don’t fit the legal definition of gambling because the player always knows whether he or she is a winner or loser.

Players must “press a ‘preview’ button before a play button can be activated,” his March order explained. The outcome of the next game is always known, thus it’s not a game of skill or chance, he said.

In his memo, Richard suggested Cooper misunderstood the game play: “The player is not wagering for the already revealed outcome, but rather on the next outcome, which is unknown.

“Players are not … merely spending money to see spinning reels and flashing lights,” Richard wrote. “Rather, it is a slot machine, with which players are wagering on an unknown, unpredictable outcome” that they may or may not win.

Other states, including Indiana and North Carolina, have found pre-reveal games to be illegal gambling, he added.

The Seminole Compact “guaranteed the Tribe substantial exclusivity in the operation of slot machines and other forms of casino gambling.” Now, slot machines outside the Seminoles’ casinos are allowed only at pari-mutuel facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

And that exclusivity was required for the agreement to be agreed to by federal Indian gaming regulators, Richard said.

Otherwise, “the Tribe has the right to suspend all payments until such gaming ceases,” he wrote. That could cost the state “multi- billions of dollars,” he added.

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]


  • James

    May 5, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Lol Jackpot, it’s not a slot machine . The reason why pre reveal lost in North carliona is because the attorney messed up explaining it correctly to the court.

  • Eric Keaton

    May 6, 2017 at 1:03 am

    You still free.basing Xanax.? Don’t be a bum. Pre.Reveal lost in N.C. because the attorney couldn’t prove the machine wasn’t a slot machine. LoL.!!

  • Eric Keaton

    May 6, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Does a tribe cease to be a tribe if its actions and influence mirror that of Oligarchs.? Enter the seminole oligarchy 2o17. Thanks Galvano who claims to be so influential in crafting the original compact. Did you not see this coming..? I did.

  • James

    May 6, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    It’s a computer btw its Not even a game because there isn’t a challenge, skill or luck involved. The compact is not impacted an will loose if they keep trying. Soon Kelly Mathis will be out of retirement and Lawrence Walters will take this to supreme court if needed, don’t think this is the only software out there either Bud. The big Wave is coming!

Comments are closed.


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