he accord will provide the state at least us$ 150 million a year as well as a share of revenue from the games, Crist said in a news release today from Tallahassee, the state capital. An agreement Crist made with the tribe in 2007 for us$ 150 million in yearly payments was rejected by the state Supreme Court because it wasn’t approved by the legislature.
The income from the original accord was part of a package of new revenue and spending cuts that closed a us$ 2.5 billion deficit in the us$ 66.5 billion fiscal 2010 budget that began in July. The new agreement “will reap financial benefit to the people of Florida,” Crist, a Republican, said in his release. “The revenue sharing between the tribe and the state will enable the state of Florida to invest in the future of Florida’s children.”
The compact must be approved by the legislature. The annual payment could reach us$ 501.9 million in the final year, according to a state projection.
The Seminole Tribe, which the US government considers a sovereign entity with self-government rights, has offered blackjack at four of its casinos, including the Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, Florida, in opposition to state law under the original agreement with Crist.
“Another important milestone has been reached in the Seminole Tribe’s long effort to establish a compact with the State of Florida,” tribal chairman Mitchell Cypress said in a statement. “We are hopeful and optimistic that the compact will ultimately become law.”
The agreement, which doesn’t permit roulette or craps, also allows Florida’s jai-alai frontons and horse and dog-racing tracks to offer high-stakes poker games. It also grants them lower taxes on slot-machine revenue in exchange for the Seminoles having exclusive rights to offer blackjack.