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Seminoles finance poll that finds majority of voters want to renew the gaming compact

CasinoA new poll financed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida finds that voters like the level of gambling currently being offered today throughout the state and support the renewal of the gaming compact between the Tribe and the state. 

The poll is a "screaming" statement about "where people see gaming. They like it the way it is. They fear having more of it,'' said Adam Goodman, the poll's media consultant in a conference call with reporters. 

A portion of the tribal compact expires in July and the Florida House has proposed a bill to end it and replace it with a massive expansion of gaming in South Florida. The Florida Senate, meanwhile, says it is considering not renewing the option of the compact that expires this year.

Does voter support for the status quo mean the Tribe agrees and will not attempt to expand gaming by negotiating additional games at its casinos? Not quite. 

"The Tribe is not ruling out anything regarding the renegotiating of the compact or the extension of the table games provision of the compact,'' said Gary Bitner, the Tribe's spokesman. 

From the Tribe's  press release:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the Florida Legislature considers several options that will determine the future of gaming in Florida, a new statewide poll released today has found a majority of Floridians support renewing the Seminole compact and oppose the expansion of gaming.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida remains a trusted name in Florida and a sizable majority of Floridians support the extension of the gaming compact with the State of Florida,” said pollster Neil Newhouse, who conducted the poll on behalf of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  “With options that will determine the future of gaming in Florida on the table, the Seminoles enjoy broad support for a continued partnership with the state.”

Among the poll’s findings:

  • ·        61 percent support the Seminole Compact, while 26 percent oppose it;
  • ·        62 percent believe the Governor should renew the agreement with the Seminoles, while 27 percent believe the Governor should not renew it;
  • ·        By a 7-to-1 margin (56 percent to 8 percent), Florida voters have a favorable impression of the Seminole Tribe of Florida;
  • ·        70 percent want to reduce gaming in Florida or keep it the same;
  • ·        46 percent support a moratorium on new gaming permits, while 38 percent oppose it; and
  • ·        50 percent believe Florida is headed in the right direction, while 39 percent believe it is on the wrong track.

Recently, a bill in the Florida House of Representatives was introduced with several options related to gaming.  The poll surveyed attitudes about the legislation and found:

  • ·        A majority (50 percent) oppose the bill, while 39 percent favor it;
  • ·        63 percent of respondents believed the bill would result in an increase in gaming in the state, while 3 percent believed it would result in a decrease; and
  • ·        A plurality of voters (36 percent less likely, 31 percent more likely) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate of the state legislature if the candidate supported the legislation filed in the Florida House of Representatives.

Support for the Seminole Compact has increased in recent months. A previous poll conducted by Newhouse in December 2013 found 59 percent supported it.  The current poll surveyed 793 Floridians, and included a 600 sample of voters statewide (margin of error +/-4.0% in 95 out of 100 cases), as well as “oversampling” in the Tampa and Orlando DMAs in order to have a larger sample size in those two key markets. 

To view the poll and supporting materials, please visit