No slots of any kind for Palm Beach in new gambling dealby Dara Kam | August 31st, 2009
The $12.5 billion deal Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminoles signed today takes slot machines off the table for the Palm Beach Kennel Club.
Track owner Pat Rooney Sr., his lobbyists and track owner Pat Rooney Sr. and some influential lawmakers had pushed for a Palm Beach County referendum in which voters could allow the track to expand its gambling operations to include slot machines. Senate President Jeff Atwater’s district includes the dog track.
But even the possibility of slots of any kind in Palm Beach County was a deal-breaker for the Seminoles, sources close to the negotiations said.
The final deal, which lawmakers must sign off on before it goes into effect, won’t allow slot machines or “slots-lite” – video terminals that look and play like the more lucrative Las Vegas-style slots – in Palm Beach or anywhere outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where they are already permitted.
The Seminoles have agreed to pay the state $150 million a year or more, depending on how much their casino operations bring in, for 20 years in exchange for giving them exclusive rights to slot machine gambling throughout the state.
The tribe also gets to keep its blackjack games at all of its seven location although lawmakers had wanted that limited to the Broward County facilities and another near Tampa.