While it was a mere formality, the Rick Scott versus Charlie Christ contest is now on. Gaming proponents and opponents will be carefully watching this one trying to gauge where the candidates stand on gambling issues.
All parties are keenly aware that the Seminole Indian compact hangs in the balance as the determining factor of future gaming opportunities in the sunshine state.
The Seminoles pay roughly $250 million annually to the State of Florida for exclusive rights to slot machines outside Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and for exclusivity on blackjack state wide.
Many expect the state to try and increase the payments in return for granting the Seminoles 15 additional years of black jack exclusivity to match the 15 years they have remaining on slots exclusivity.
Miami-Dade and Broward parimutuel casino operators are hoping a reduction in taxes for their facilities is part of the plan. This would help secure the votes of Miami-Dade and Broward legislators needed to ratify the compact.
The lower tax rate would hopefully lead to more investment by the parimutuel casino operators in amenities complimentary to their gaming activities including entertainment and restaurant venues.