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Florida State Lawmakers and Seminole Officials Close to Finalizing a Gaming Agreement

For a number of years, Florida officials and the Seminole Indian tribe have been engaged in talks involving expanding gaming at Seminole casino facilities.

On April 3rd, 2010, it appears that an agreement has finally been reached that is acceptable to both sides. Rep. Bill Galvano has been the leading House negotiator with the Seminole tribe and there have been some difficult times during the talks.

At one point, it looked like as though the two groups would have the issue resolved by the federal government. However, when the legislators came back after the New Year, they are more informed on the gaming issue and that has paid off in a gaming agreement.

Rep. Galvano stopped short of confirming that it was a done deal because the Seminole tribal council and the Florida House and Senate must all give their consent to the agreement. The terms of the deal call for the Seminole tribe to get exclusive rights to the game of blackjack at their Coconut Creek and the Seminole Hard Rock casinos.

They also would have the privilege to offer blackjack in their Immokalee and Tampa casinos. Exclusivity was the main point of discussion break downs in the past. In exchange for the game of blackjack and the right to offer slot machines, the Seminole tribe would pay Florida for the next twenty years.

All in all, the agreement is worth $1.5 billion. Governor Charlie Crist had twice negotiated gaming compacts with the Seminole tribe, but both times lawmakers have dismissed the compacts. In 2010, Florida legislators and the Seminole tribe entered talks directly for the first time.


Monday, May 03 , 2010
Kim Watson