Here we go again down in Florida. The Seminoles have had their exclusivity to blackjack for less than a year, and already it is being threatened. Although this time the threat is not coming from the pari-mutuels backed with Florida lawmakers.
Not this time. In fact, the pari-mutuels are on the same side as the Seminoles this time.
The threat to the Seminole
Now that blackjack tables have been straightened out between the state and the Seminoles, the state of Florida is now turning its attention to online gambling and the possibility of regulating it. This would mean that online blackjack would be available to those in Florida.
There are two aspects of this online gambling regulation that fit together. One, there are one million residents in Florida who gambling online be they online blackjack players or online poker players or a fan of some other online casino game.
Two, despite the Seminole compact and the $1 billion in revenue it will generate, Florida is still around $2 billion short of its budget after considering the compact revenue.
So what can Florida do with its one million residents who gamble online and its budget shortfall?
They can regulate online gambling, thus allowing revenue to be generated from the online gambling.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) allows for each individual state to choose whether or not to regulate online gambling within their borders. This compliments the enforcement of UIGEA by the financial institutions. See, US citizens are not banned from gambling online, but financial institutions are banned from knowingly processing transactions between citizens and online casinos.
But if a state were to regulate online gambling, residents of that state would be able to gamble online legally, and financial institutions would not be prohibited from processing those transactions going to online casinos licensed by the regulating state.
In short, if Florida were to regulate online gambling, those of you who are in Florida and play blackjack online would be able to do so. So you would get your online blackjack and Florida would get its revenue.
How much revenue? It is estimated that Florida could make $200 million in the first year and $100 million in subsequent years. While it will not entirely cover the budget shortfall, the revenue would certainly help Florida
Yesterday Florida hosted their primary elections for the upcoming November general election. Up for grabs in the general election will be a seat in the Senate and the governor
For as long as there has been blackjack in the state of Florida, $5 blackjack tables have not been a common find. But then we are talking pre-legal, compact approved blackjack within the state. Now that there is a compact between the Seminole tribe and the state of Florida giving the Seminoles a five year exclusivity to blackjack, the layout of the blackjack landscape is changing. For the better.
This coming Friday, August 20th, the first twenty four hour, seven days per week $5 blackjack tables will open at the Seminole Casino Hollywood.
The Seminole Casino Hollywood is not a new casino. It has been around for the last thirty years. But this is the first big event for this casino in several years. And it is all thanks to the exclusivity on blackjack that the Seminoles now enjoy, which went into effect this past July.
The opening of the new twenty four hour, seven days per week $5 blackjack tables will begin with speeches made by Seminole Gaming CEO, Jim Allen. There will also be speeches made by Seminole leaders. Once the speeches are done with, Seminole Casino Hollywood General Manager Adrian Fox will then say the magic words to get the gambling underway:
On Thursday of last week three brick and mortar casinos in western Pennsylvania opened the blackjack tables, drawing patrons away from the long haul drive to Atlantic City to enjoy some blackjack.
Unfortunately for Atlantic City the run of Pennsylvania casinos is not at an end yet. This past Tuesday, July 13th, saw the opening of blackjack tables in three eastern Pennsylvania casinos.
Blackjack players all over Pennsylvania are very excited with the addition of their favorite casino game in six casinos. This follows months of back and forth political arguments earlier this year about whether or not the State would allow table games like blackjack, roulette and craps to be added to their game offerings. But the demand was there and the income to the State in gaming taxes was needed. Everyone wins. Well, except for Atlantic City.
For decades Atlantic City was the mecca of East Coast gambling in the United States. But with the down turn in the economy and a lack of funds trickling down the government hill, states began looking at other ways to bring in money.
Pennsylvania is not the only state to look to gambling. Florida recently settled a long standing dispute with the Seminole tribe about blackjack there. Florida will be making $1.5 billion over the next five years from their deal with the Seminoles.
But with the addition of blackjack to the casino games at the Rivers, Meadows and Presque Isle Downs casinos in western Pennsylvania and the Mohegan Sun, Mount Airy and Hollywood casinos in eastern Pennsylvania could spell even more trouble for Atlantic City.
Not only will the time-honored East Coast gambling destination be competing with these six improved casinos next door, they might also be competing against online gambling. New Jersey is looking at legalizing online gambling for New Jersey residents that would make the competition even greater for Atlantic City.
While Pennsylvania blackjack players are quite happy with the new table games in six of their casinos, we shall have to see how Atlantic City fares over the next few years. Will it be able to keep itself afloat or will it sink in the ocean that is the gambling industry.
It is July 1st and that means one thing for the Seminole Tribe. Well, okay, it means two things but as a blackjack player I am really only concerned about one of those things.
The Seminole compact that took a Tolkien amount of time to be agreed upon is now in effect. This means that blackjack tables are now legal in five of the seven Seminole casinos. Of those five brick and mortar casinos, three are located in Broward County, one in Immokalee and the fifth casino can be found in Tampa.
The debate on whether the Seminoles would be allowed to have blackjack tables had been an ongoing since 2007 when Governor Charlie Crist signed a compact with them that would allow them blackjack at all seven of their casinos. State legislature quickly said that was not legal.
Ever since the blackjack tables were alternately called legal and illegal. This past May the Seminoles, Crist and state legislatures finally came to an agreement: the Seminoles would be allowed exclusivity on blackjack with five casinos being allowed the tables. The Seminoles will also have a twenty year exclusivity on Vegas style slot machines. In exchange the Seminoles will be playing $1.5 million over five years.
Now if the deal is broken by pari-mutuels being allowed blackjack in less than five years or Vegas style slot machines in less than twenty years, the respective portion of the Seminoles
Even if the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) now in effect California and Florida have been looking into making online gambling legal within their states for state residents. They are looking into it mostly as another source of income, which is much needed.
But while California has been going round and round in talks with tribes in their state, and Florida has been going back and forth with the Seminoles, New Jersey has snuck in under the radar.
On Thursday a bill, proposed by Senator Ray Lesniak, that would regulate online gambling within the state for New Jersey residents passed a committee vote 3-1. With the bill passed it can now go to the entire Senate for discussion and hopefully a vote that will allow for online gambling in New Jersey.
The way the bill works is to allow licensed casinos the ability to create sites online that allow for gambling online. Casinos must be licensed because without that license, according to federal law, they would not be allowed to offer online gambling. But since casinos in Atlantic City are licensed
Happy Cinco de Mayo for blackjack in Florida!
Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed the state
If you love blackjack there just might be a program at community colleges that would be right up your alley.
Remember earlier this year when Pennsylvania approved their casinos to have table games like blackjack? With all those new tables and casino patrons wanting to sit down to play some blackjack, those casinos are in need of something: blackjack dealers.
Northampton Community College purchased the blackjack dealer training course from a community college in southern New Jersey. This way Northampton could offer the course to those who were interested in becoming blackjack dealers.
Imagine going to school and only studying blackjack.
The training is necessary if those who are interested in becoming dealers really want to be blackjack dealers. By the end of the course dealers in training have studied the game of blackjack, all the rules that apply to it, card and chip handling and CPR. Yes, CPR too.
But becoming a blackjack isn
It looks like this compact with the Seminoles is going to happen. With a 74-39 vote, the compact passed through the House on Monday. The Florida Senate has already approved the compact with a 29-9 vote. Now all that