Seminoles meet secretly with Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Oct 15, 2015 10:39 AM

Top officials of the Seminole tribe of Florida met secretly with Florida Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday amid signs that Scott is willing to consider an extension of the state’s gaming compact with the tribe.

The tribe owns the two Hard Rock resorts – one near Tampa on the west coast and the other near Hollywood on the lower east coast – and five smaller casinos.

The Wednesday meeting was not included on the governor’s public schedule, according to the Miami Herald. There was no explanation for that, but a source familiar with the ongoing effort to negotiate an extension of the current compact with the Seminoles said lawmakers and Scott continue to “feel their way” toward a possible extension. There are still several significant issues to be settled and no certainty that that all parties will be pleased with whatever results.

A compact extension requires legislative approval and there is disagreement among key lawmakers about whether the Seminoles should continue to have an exclusive or whether a door should be opened to other possibilities.

These other possibilities include the increased use of poker and slot machines at pari-mutuel outlets such as frontons.

The Seminoles do not want to lose their exclusivity but they also want the right to offer more games than they now have.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].