Gulfstream Park is one of the Florida racetracks that has slot machines

Gulfstream Park is one of the Florida racetracks that has slot machines

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Decoupling Option Part of Tribal Compact

Horse racing interests already lobbying against approval of provision.

A pricey compact between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe allows for the decoupling of casino gambling and pari-mutuel racing, but whether that provision becomes law remains to be seen.

Scott said the compact "includes the largest revenue-share guarantee in history at $3 billion," which is three times that of the previous compact with the tribe. The document puts a cap on the amount of gaming the Seminoles can offer at its seven Florida casinos and, according to Scott, "allows flexibility for future policy decisions by the Florida legislature while limiting the expansion of gaming in the state."

The compact lists pari-mutuel "policy choices" for the state legislature, meaning lawmakers will ultimately decide. Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse owners, breeders, and trainers earlier launched a "No Decoupling" campaign and figure to continue the effort when the legislature convenes in January 2016. The horse racetracks thus far have been silent on the issue.

Decoupling would end a requirement that racetracks with slot machines or card clubs offer live racing. Before this year it was limited to the Greyhound racing industry.

Other choices related to the pari-mutuel industry are taxes as low as 25% on slots revenue; additional slots at facilities in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties; blackjack for existing slots facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade; and pari-mutuel facilities without slots offering "designated player games."

"I am sure there will be several other issues the legislature may wish to debate and discuss in addition to the details within this compact itself," Scott said in a letter to lawmakers.