Seminole Tribe faces deadline to remove blackjack from casinos

Blackjack tables at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida. Photo from Facebook

The Seminole Tribe has until Thursday to remove blackjack and other banked card games from its casinos but filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida in order to protect its rights.

Key provisions of a 2010 compact expired at the end of July. The agreement provided for a 90-day grace period that ends on October 29 but the tribe contends it can still offer blackjack because the state has violated the exclusivity provisions by allowing other parties to offer the same types of games.

"The state’s authorization of banking or banked card games by persons other than the tribe as described above, and the failure of the state to recognize the tribe’s consequent right to continue to operate banking or banked card games, constitutes a breach of the compact," the complaint, which was filed in federal court on Monday, reads.

The lawsuit comes as the tribe and the state continue to discuss a new compact. Talks have ramped up in recent weeks but a deal has yet emerge amid a general lack of interest among Republican lawmakers to preserve the exclusivity provisions of the 2010 agreement.

"The Tribe has no option but to file in order to protect its interests and those of the 3,100 employees and their families whose jobs are in jeopardy," Chairman James Billie said in a statement posted by FloridaPolitics.Com. "It is following the procedure set forth in the compact for dispute resolution and is seeking a declaratory opinion from the court with respect to the proper interpretation of the compact and the law."

Since 2010, the tribe has shared more than $1 billion in revenues with the state.

Get the Story:
Deadline Is Soon For Seminole Casinos To Stop Black Jack (WFSU 10/28)
Gov. Scott Remains Mum on Looming Blackjack Deadline (AP 10/28)
Seminole Gaming Deadline Nears (Capitol News Service 10/27)
Seminoles Claims Fla. Reneged on Gaming Deal (Courthouse News Service 10/27)
Seminole Tribe files complaint against Florida over gaming compact dispute (South Florida Business Journal 10/27)
Seminole tribe sues Florida in midst of talks over gaming pact (The Tampa Tribune 10/27)
Seminole Tribe sues the state despite progress in gaming talks (The Miami Herald 10/27)
Seminole Tribe hedges its bet with federal lawsuit (The Naples Daily News 10/27)
Tribe Goes To Court Amid Gambling Talks (The News Service of Florida 10/26)
Seminoles Sue State To Keep Blackjack (AP 10/26)
Seminole Tribe sues state over blackjack (FloridaPolitics 10/26)

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