Slots Come to Florida
Florida's first state-approved slot machines will begin operation in December at two commercial racetracks in Broward County -- just in time for the holidays. The slots are the result of a 2004 change in Florida's state constitution. The state will get a 50% cut of the gross slot revenue, and each site is limited to 1,500 machines as well as a 16-hour day.
The Seminole Hard Rock Casino, which currently operates Class II electronic bingo machines in a 24-hour casino-resort, apparently doesn't feel too threatened. The St. Petersburg Times on Oct. 18th reports that James Allen, the Seminole Tribe's chief executive of gaming operations, "The lack of competition was fun, but we wish the tracks good luck. We think it's good for the state and for gaming in general."
IGRA allows tribes to operate Class III games, like slot machines, where the state "permits such gaming for any purpose by any person," but the Tribe's Class III negotiations with Governor Bush have stalled.
Perhaps the upcoming election will generate a different outcome for the Tribe, however, as Governor Bush will term-limit out of office. Both the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates have indicated at least some openness to a tribal-state compact on Class III gaming.