With legislators poised to return Monday to Tallahassee, rumors are circling that they are also ready to finish off a deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that expands the multi-million dollar gaming compact with the state in return for more money in the state's pocketbook.
But, according to a chief negotiator for the Tribe, Tallahassee attorney Barry Richard, such talk is "going nowhere" and the stalemate that began months ago has continued.
Friday was the deadline for the state to agree to a mediator to settle the dispute from a proposed list of mediators offered to it from the American Arbitration Association. Btu with no response from the governor's general counsel Tim Cerio, the Tribe sent the state a note saying they've picked someone themselves.
"I don't know what that will do,'' Richard conceded Friday.
The tribe hit a deadline on July 31, when a portion of the 20-year gaming compact that authorizes them to exclusively offer "banked" card games such as blackjack and baccarat at five of its seven casinos expired.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation asked the tribe to provide them with a "timeline for the closure of banked card games at your tribal facilities" but the tribe has failed to do so. Under the 2010 compact with the state,the tribe has 90 days to quit offering the lucrative games.
As part of that deal, the Seminoles also pledged to pay the state a minimum of $1 billion over five years in exchange for the exclusive right to operate the banked card games.
The tribe argues that it is entitled to continue operating the banked games under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because the state allows electronic versions of blackjack at racinos in South Florida in violation of the exclusivity provisions of the compact.
Last month, it sent the state a "notice of commencement of compact dispute resolution procedures" and asked the state to agree on a mediator under the guidelines outlined in the compact.
Here's the latest letter: Download 8.7.15 Seminole - Mediation Preference