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Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida Legislature Discusses Seminole Gaming Compact

Less than twenty-four hours after imploring the state legislature to approve a gaming compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe, Florida Governor Charlie Crist met with the main House negotiator to continue discuss the issue.

Gov. Crist and State Representative Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), met for about thirty minutes on March 4th, 2010 to talk about the gaming negotiations that have been going on for more than a year. Galvano said that he assured Gov. Crist that they can reach an agreement with the tribe.

But it will not be the same agreement that Gov. Crist and the Seminole tribe proposed to the Florida legislature in 2009 that would have permitted blackjack and other banked card games at all seven casino facilities of the tribe in Florida.

Rep. Galvano and the Legislature have proposed for expanded banked card games at just four of the seven casinos of the tribe to protect the pari-mutuel facilities, which also provides tax revenues to Florida. Rep. Galvano said that he is closely working with the Seminole tribe on a new agreement that can be presented to Gov. Crist.

The game of blackjack is already being offered at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, Florida, even though a new gaming compact has not yet been approved. Galvano has argued that the card games are illegally being offered at the gaming facilities, given that the previous gaming agreement that would have permitted them was dismissed by the legislature.

Crist, in his State of the State speech on March 2nd, 2010, implored the legislature to approve the gaming compact with the Seminoles. Crist has estimated that more than $400 million in revenue would come to Florida this year if an agreement is reached. Crist told the legislators that he was not a fan of gambling either but he urged the lawmakers to be realistic about the current economic situation of the state.

Rep. Galvano said that he told Gov. Crist that the legislature wants access to the Seminole gambling revenues too and they will do everything to make it a reality.

 

Sunday, March 21 , 2010
Thomas Johnson