Mardi Gras Casino president says Seminoles ‘baiting’ public with expansion project

Mardi Gras Casino president says Seminoles ‘baiting’ public with expansion project


MUCH MORE ON THIS STORY COMING UP AT STICKS. A BATTLE LOOMING OVER THE STATE’S GAMBLING COMPACT WITH THE SEMINOLE TRIBE WHICH WOULD PAY THE STATE $3 BILLION OVER THE FIRST SEVEN YEARS ALONE. BUT THE STATE’S PAIR MUTUAL, FOUR WHO DO BUSINESS IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTIES SAY THE DEAL IS UNFAIR. THAT IS SETTING UP A HIGH STAKES BATTLE IN TALLAHASSEE. HERE’S BOB NORMAN’S REPORT. WE WANT TO DO SOMETHING THAT’S ICONIC FOR MANY MANY DECADES TO COME. THE PLAN FOR A GIANT GUITAR SHAPED HOTEL AT THE SEMINOLE HARD ROCK CASINO WAS UNVEILED MONDAY BY TRIBE OFFICIALS AND GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT WHO SAID THE $1.8 MILLION PROJECT AND THOUSANDS OF JOBS HINGED TO THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE’S PASSAGE OF THE GAMBLING COMPACT THEY’D NEGOTIATED. IT’S UP TO THEM TO MAKE THEIR DECISION. THEIR COMPETING MARDI GRAS CASINO VICE PRESIDENT DAN ATKINS DESCRIBES IT DIFFERENTLY. THEY’RE BAITING THE PUBLIC. ATKINS SAYS THE SEMINOLES WILL BUILD THE TOURIST MECCA REGARDLESS OF THE NEW COMPACT PLAN WHICH HE SAYS SHORT CHANGES PARA MUTUAL LIKE MARDI GRAS AND NEARBY GULF STREAM. A NEGOTIATED RIGHT NOW IS VERY ONE SIDED TOWARDS THE TRIBE. SCOTT’S DEAL EXPANDS THE TRIBE’S GAMES WITH CRAPS AND ROULETTES, IN RETURN THEY WOULD GET BLACKJACK TABLES FOR THE FIRST TIME, BUT WITH A LOW $15 BET LIMIT. I COULDN’T PAY TO PUT IT IN OPERATION. HE NOTED MARDI GRAS ALREADY OFFERS HIGH STAKES ELECTRONIC BLACKJACK. MARDI GRAS AND THE OTHER PARA MUTUAL WANT TO REPLACE WITH A LIMIT OF $100. ATKINS SAYS THE PLAN GIVES THE SEMINOLES A 15% TAX RATE WHILE THE PARAMUTUALS PAYS A 46% RATE. IT WILL FORCE THEM TO ENGAGE IN UNPROFITABLE COG AND HORSE RACE ZOOM IF I COULD ELIMINATE THAT, I WOULD BE FREE TO DEVELOP THIS LAND, PUT MY OWN HOTEL ON HERE. IT MAY NOT LOOK LIKE A GUITAR, BUT I’LL PUT MY OWN HOTEL HERE. THE LEGISLATURE IS EXPECTED TO CRAFT A PROPOSAL WITH SOME OF THE PROVISIONS THAT ATKINS DESCRIBES, BUT BOB’S SOURCES IN TALLAHASSEE TELL HIM IT IS UNLIKELY ANY FORM OF THE COMPACT WILL BE PASSED BEFORE

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