Anti-gambling group urges Interior Department to dismiss Florida-Seminole gaming compact

Anti-gambling group urges Interior Department to dismiss Florida-Seminole gaming compact

A group of gaming expansion opponents in Florida called “No Casinos” has urged the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) to dismiss the Sunshine State’s new Class III gaming compact with the federally-recognized Seminole Tribe.

In May this year, Florida legislators and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approved a new gaming compact with Seminole Tribe. Under the terms of the deal, the tribe’s gaming division will enjoy privileges to operate sports betting in addition to exclusive rights to craps and roulette for the next three decades.

Any such gaming compact or deal reached between federally-recognized tribes and state governments needs to be ratified by the U.S. DOI and its Bureau of Indian Affairs. Meanwhile, anti-gaming group “No Casinos” has urged the federal authorities to dismiss the Class III compact, arguing that the compact many “fatal” flaws.

John Sowinski, president of No Casinos, said, “The voices of the Seminole Tribe and the people of Florida were in complete harmony with the passage of Amendment 3, which ‘ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida.”

Sowinski added that rejecting the controversial Class III compact would not be a rejection of the Seminole Tribe. It would simply send the matter back to the state with a clear message that state authorities should ‘get it right’ with a new agreement benefitting both the state and tribe, while honoring the intent of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and will of Florida voters.

The anti-gambling group is also arguing that the compact’s stipulation that the Seminole Tribe will no longer oppose a slot license in Broward or Miami-Dade county.

In the new Class III compact, the Sunshine State agreed to allow the tribe to continue to enjoy monopoly on casino gambling in the area. In exchange, the influential tribe will pay $500 million to the state exchequer per annum. It is the tribe’s monopoly on the casino gambling in the area that raised concerns among critics. No new gambling facility can be operated in Broward and Miami-Dade counties it is within 15 miles of a Seminole casino.

The DOI has 45 days to decide on Florida’s new Class III compact with Seminole Tribe. But, federal authorities’ decision on the controversial Class III gaming compact is expected to be announced as soon as the end of this month.