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Seminole Tribe in dispute with state over gambling agreement

business-litigation-gambling-law-frese-hansen.jpgAfter paying enormous amounts of money to retain the rights to certain gambling games, the Seminole Tribe is now seeking mediation in a dispute with the state of Florida after the state apparently voided a compact by allowing certain games to be played at other casinos.

Over the five years of the compact, the Seminole Tribe paid the state over $$1 billion for exclusive rights to provide certain table-gambling games in its casinos, effectively creating a monopoly. This agreement is set to expire July 31 of this year. Negotiations between the state and the tribe stalled this past spring, and since other casinos and racetracks throughout the state have begun providing the same games, such as three-card poker, the Seminoles see no reason to continue paying for exclusivity rights.

The tribe has sent two letters to the governor's office since May 1 stating its concerns and accusing the state of violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The tribe also claims the state has not been negotiating fairly. According to the compact, the tribe has another 30 days to meet with the state and an additional 60 days to seek mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Seminoles can pursue action in a federal court. The U.S. District court will gain jurisdiction over the case on Oct. 28.

Gambling is big business and, like any business, disputes can arise. Just as the Seminole Tribe is seeking mediation in this dispute, any business owner involved in potential litigation will need to seek the counsel of an attorney experienced in commercial law and mediation. Although mediation is usually preferable to court litigation, certain circumstances sometimes preclude the parties from reaching an agreement. With so much revenue coming into the state from gambling, hopefully lawmakers in Florida will be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the Seminole Tribe.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Seminole Tribe says state voided gambling agreement," Nick Sortal, June 24, 2015

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