Seminole Tribe Stops Revenue Sharing Payments to State of Florida

No more payments until litigation issues are rectified

by - Monday, May 2nd, 2022 12:49

Seminole Hard Rock Florida

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has confirmed that it stopped paying its monthly installments on the $500 million in annual revenue sharing that it had previously agreed on with the state.
the loss to the state in revenue sharing could feasibly run into the billions

The group, which owns six casinos in Florida, had agreed a deal with Gov. Ron DeSantis that allowed the tribes the exclusive rights to offer state-wide mobile casino gaming alongside sports betting. This was then approved during a special session of the state legislature.

However, with a month of starting its online operations, the Tribe was forced to suspend its online services following a series of lawsuits filed by rival gambling interests in the state.

US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich had invalidated the newly agreed Compact in November of 2021. At the time he stated that online aspect of the compact went beyond the scope of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act even though the Department of the Interior given its approval of the deal in August.

As a result of the decision, the laws governing gambling in Florida reverted to the 2010 compact between the Seminoles and the state.

In a statement to the media at that time, Seminoles spokesperson Gary Bitner said:

“The Governor, the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe continue to work together closely to defend the 2021 Gaming Compact in the litigation pending in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, just as they did when it was challenged in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee. Until the litigation is resolved, the Tribe is making revenue share payments based on the 2021 Gaming Compact into escrow.”

Bitner also confirmed in February that payments had resumed despite the fact that the compact had been voided by Friedrich.

However, these payments have since been stopped and it’s likely that they will not resume until litigation against the state by the owners of Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room pari-mutuel outlets has been resolved. This litigation could take years meaning that the loss to the state in revenue sharing could feasibly run into the billions.

Image credit: ucumari photography / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Danny Tang

Reporter & gambling industry analyst covering the land-based and online casino industry in the United States.

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