Senator Dennis Jones Plans Gaming Expansion for Seminole Tribe
On March 30th, 2009, a well respected Florida state Senator improved the offer for the Seminole tribe as he launched his proposal that will give the Seminole tribe Las Vegas type of gaming and the pari-mutuels in the state compete more effectively with tribal casinos while dropping the current tax rate from fifty percent to thirty-five percent and offer blackjack and slot machines.
Expanded casino gaming supporters say that the state could earn as much $1 billion annually if this plan is approve. The committee on Senate Regulated Industries which Senator Dennis Jones leads will convene on the following days to discuss Senator Jones' proposal. Jones said that they are planning to factor in the amount of cash that the state will be receiving from their gaming compact into its budget proposal, which will substantially improves the chance that some example of the gaming compact will be approve by the House.
Senator JD Alexander, the head of the Senate Policy on Ways and Means said that he is not in favor of full blown casino gaming expansion but he believes that they have to act on the budget deficit immediately. Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the Seminoles finalized a compact in December 2007 but it was cancelled by the Florida Supreme Court on grounds that it needs legislative approval.
The gaming compact version of the House of Representatives allows the tribe to operate Class III slot machines for an annual payment of $100 million but it also orders the tribe to stop offering blackjack and baccarat. It also does not allow gaming expansion beyond the areas of Broward and Miami-Dade.
On the other hand, the Senate plan allows the Seminoles to expand their gaming offering to even include craps and roulette, two casino games that is usually seen in Las Vegas casinos. They are allowed to offer these two new games at their 7 casinos all over the state. But they will need to pay $400 million annually to Florida.