When it comes to gambling, Floridians like things the way they are.
A new poll, sponsored by the Seminole Tribe of Florida finds a majority of respondents support the existing gambling compact and oppose any further gaming expansion statewide.
More than 60 percent said they favor renewing the Seminole Compact, which the Tribe insists brings stability in gaming throughout the state.
The poll comes as Florida lawmakers consider the future of gaming in Florida, including renewal of the agreement giving the Tribe exclusive rights to operate blackjack and other card games at five of its seven Florida casinos outside of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
An essential part of the Compact expires this summer, which the tribe is pushing to renew so they can continue to offer gaming, as well as provide around $234 million a year in revenue to the state.
“The Seminole Tribe of Florida remains a trusted name in Florida and a sizable majority of Floridians support the extension of the gaming compact with the State of Florida,” says Neil Newhouse, who conducted the poll on behalf of the Seminole Tribe.
“With options that will determine the future of gaming in Florida on the table, Newhouse says in a statement released Monday, “the Seminoles enjoy broad support for a continued partnership with the state.”
While 61 percent of respondents support the Seminole Compact, 26 percent oppose it; 62 percent want Gov. Rick Scott to renew the agreement, and 27 percent disagree.
As for any future gambling expansion, 70 percent of respondents want to either reduce gaming in Florida or keep it the same; 46 percent support a freeze on new gaming permits, and 38 percent oppose it. Half of those polled believe Florida is moving in the right direction; 39 percent say it is on the wrong track.
Nearly four in ten Floridians (39 percent) support the gambling reform bill (HB 1322) filed earlier by state Rep. Dana Young earlier this month; a majority (50 percent) oppose the bill. Sixty-three percent believe the measure will lead to more gaming in the state while only 3 percent say it would decrease gambling in Florida.
Support for the Compact has increased in recent months. A previous poll in December 2013 found 59 percent supported renewal.
To view the poll and supporting materials, visit www.seminolecompact.com.