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Governor Charlie Crist Approves New Gaming Deal With Seminole Tribe

Governor Charlie Crist signed a proposed gaming compact on August 31st, 2009 with the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida, which includes banked card games like blackjack and Class III slot machines. The so-called "Cash for Blackjack" deal includes banked card games and slot machines but not the games of craps and roulette.

In exchange for being permitted to offer the games at all 7 of its casino facilities, the Seminoles agreed that Florida would be paid $150 million annually. The agreement goes beyond the guidelines set by the Florida legislature, which only allow the game at 4 of the Seminole tribe's casino facilities including the Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa.

Gov. Crist acknowledged that the proposed gaming compact did not meet all the legislature's conditions but it was close enough to where he though he could convince the legislators to give their approval. He plans to call a special session in October to present it before the legislature.

Analysts say that even before the tribe launched blackjack into their gaming facilities last, year, the total amount of money brought in by Florida's Indian gaming operations, which includes the Seminole and Miccosukee casino facilities, ranked in the top 5 in the US. Other gaming facilities will benefit from the compact as well.

Harvey Odze, who was following simulcast horse races on a big screen at a Broward pari-mutuel, said that he was very happy that the state will receive revenue from the compact. Gov. Crist's approval of the deal also beats the deadline for a new legislation aimed at keeping pari-mutuel facilities competitive. It means dog and horse racing tracks and jai alai frontons will get a bigger piece of the gaming pie.

Gaming facilities that are offering poker will be able to have longer gaming hours. Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach plans to offer poker for nineteen hours a day during the week and twenty-four hours a day on weekends. Racing tracks will also be able to have nighttime horse racing and they will also be able to offer players multi-million dollars jackpots for their slot machines just like the Seminole Hard Rock.


Thursday, September 03 , 2009
Victor Sanchez