Is Blackjack Finally Settled in Florida?

You have to give it to the Seminole Tribe. They never give up.

The Seminoles and Florida are going another round to try to find a solution to blackjack tables that both sides can agree on. And it seems that both sides are finally reaching a real potential compromise.

In this new proposal, the Seminoles would get their blackjack tables and they would be their casinos would be the only ones outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties to have them. The Seminoles would have to pay $430 million right away and then another $150 million each year for the next five years.

But on the state side, no pari-mutuels would be allowed to have table games. If either the state legislature walked away from this deal in the next three to five years, or if pari-mutuels outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties started up table games, then the Seminoles would be allowed to stop paying the state.

The comprise is that the Seminoles would get to keep their table games but they would not be getting long-term exclusive rights. This is good for the state since it allows for future table game expansion down the road.

But the best thing about this potential agreement is that blackjack tables will be found in Florida, and that money—from the Seminoles’ payments—would go mainly into the state’s education budget. So blackjack fans get a place to play and hopefully some improvements can be made to education of Florida’s children.

And knowing that your blackjack losses are helping kids and their schools kind of takes the sting out of losing. True, the Seminole casinos are only giving part of their profits to the state but if you lose a hand you can imagine that your money is helping to pay a teacher’s salary so that the state can have more teachers and less crowded classrooms.

The only real downside to this potential agreement is that if the legislature doesn’t walk away, and if no other pari-mutuels take up table games, this deal would only be good for five years. So if this agreement goes through we could be looking at another round of drawn out squabbling in five years.

But let’s be happy for now and enjoy our blackjack tables and hope the Seminoles and Florida reach an agreement so that the education budget gets some much needed funds.