The Seminole Tribe of Florida is scheduled to present a proposed compact to its tribal council Friday and, if all goes as expected, it will be signed by the tribe and the governor in Tallahassee on Monday.
Here's a summary of what the Herald/Times has learned is in the plan as negotiated by the governor and the tribe. We've followed it with the response by legislative negotiators Rep. Bill Galvano and Senate chief of staff Bud Kneip.
"It's up to them now to decide what path they want to choose,'' Galvano explained. He noted that legislators wanted to make sure that any gambling compact doesn't inhibit the state's parimutuel industry at the same time it rewards the tribe with the exclusive operation of some games. "We want to maintain the integrity of the parimutuel benefit, to keep that balance, and we don't want to go backwards,'' he said.
* Revenue sharing -- All sides have agreed that the minimum amount the tribe will pay the state is $150 million a year. That will include $12.5 million a month for two years and, if the tribe's revenues reach $2 billion, the tribe will pay 10 percent to the state. If the revenues reach $2.5 billion, it pays 15 percent; $3 billion, 17.5 percent; $4 billion, 20 percent and anything more than $4 billion a year will pay 25 percent to the state.
Legislators countered saying they would prefer the following set up: $12.5 million a month through November 2010 and, after that, if the tribe's revenues reach $2 billion, it will pay 12 percent to the state; if revenues reach $2.5 billion, it pays 15 percent; $3 billion, 17.5 percent; $4 billion, 20 percent and anything over $4 billion will net the state 25 percent of the earnings.
* Expanded games at South Florida casinos -- If the parimutuels in Miami Dade and Broward counties are allowed to expand the games they offer (such as banked card games), the tribe will be allowed to reduce its payment to the state by 50 percent but with an undetermined minimum rate.
Legislators want to include the Palm Beach Kennel Club in the list of facilities that would be allowed to expand. The dog track has long sought slot machines and, under the plan, would be allowed to seek legislative approval or a referendum to offer slot machines or other casino games. If that happens, or if the casinos in Miami Dade and Broward get black jack, the tribe would reduce its payment to the state based on a pro rata reduction -- but only if the tribe's revenues fall below $1.37 billion.
If any of the facilities in the tri-county area are allowed to offer casino games the tribe doesn't have, such as roulette, craps and keno, the Seminoles will automatically be allowed to offer them.
* Expanded games outside South Florida -- Under the governor and tribe's agreement, only Hialeah Race Course would be allowed to obtain slot machines and, if any other parimutuel is allowed to get Class III games the tribe would cease payments to the state.
Legislators counter that the tribe should be allowed to cease payments only if new Class III games are authorized in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, such as at the Fountainbleau and payments would stop only from the tribe's Broward casinos. Outside South Florida, the tribe would get exclusive operation of Class III games within 100 miles of its casinos and, if games are allowed within those 100 miles, they would reduce payments only from the affected casino.
The 100 miles limit allows parimutuels in the Panhandle and in Jacksonville, the planned quarterhorse track in Gretna and the dog track in Jefferson County to get Class III games. Legislators say the language should not authorize expanded games but it should not prohibit them either.
* Transferring licenses -- No slot machine operator will be allowed to move from its existing facility to another location -- such as Miami Jai alai moving to the Fountainbleau. Legislators agree.
* Term of compact -- All sides appear to agree that the compact will last for 20 years.
* Regulation -- The tribe and the governor want the Department of Revenue to inspect the tribe's operation six times a year, including doing an annual audit and a review of its internal controls. Legislators want to leave it up to the legislature to decide which agency should have to authority to operate the games. They also want no limits on the number of random inspections.