State of Florida to receive minimum of $150 million annually in casino profits

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill on Monday that will expand casino gambling in the state.

Senate Bill 788 gives the governor the authority to negotiate a compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida by August 31. According to a report in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the deal guarantees the state gets a minimum payment of $150 million a year of casino profits in exchange for the right to operate certain games such as baccarat and blackjack in the tribe’s seven gambling facilities.

The agreement must be ratified by the Legislature and agreed to by the tribe.

In addition to the $150 million, the Seminoles are required to make revenue-sharing payments on an annual sliding scale, starting at 2 percent of profits up to $2.5 billion, topping out at 25 percent of profits above $4.5 billion.

The agreement also requires the tribe to develop a compulsive gambling prevention program, submit records to an independent annual financial audit and maintain a legal process for compensating individuals for injuries caused to patrons.

The deal replaces an earlier one that Crist agreed with the tribe in 2007 but was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court after it found the governor had overstepped his authority by failing to involve the Legislature.