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lorida Judges Decides to Cancel Seminole Gambling Compact

On July 3rd, 2008, the state Supreme Court of Florida decided to invalidate the gambling compact between Governor Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe, stating that Governor Crist does not have the authority to allow games that are otherwise not permitted anywhere in the state.

The gambling compact, which was signed on November 17th, 2008, gives the green light to the Seminole tribe to implement Las Vegas style slot machines and card games like baccarat and blackjack at the seven gaming establishments of the tribe, like the Hard Rock casino establishment in Hollywood and Tampa, Florida. But the court said that Governor Crist overstepped the boundaries of his power when he approved the deal. But the opinion of the court does not take into consideration the slot machines issue, which is permitted at Broward and Miami Dade County jai alai frontons and horse and dog racing tracks but with the card games.

The court said that what is permitted in the state of Florida is also allowed in tribal lands and the games that are not allowed in the state are also not allowed in tribal lands. But the tribe said that they can offer the card games because the compact was approved by the Department of Interior. Seminole spokesperson Gary Bitner commented that they are reviewing the decision of the court so they do not have immediate plans to stop the games.

The gambling compact gave the Seminole tribe the exclusive right to offer the card games in Florida but they have to pay Florida an initial payment of $50 million. Florida will receive another $175 million over the next two years, $150 million for the 3rd year and another $100 million for the remaining years on the twenty-five year gaming compact. House Speaker Marco Rubio filed the case that challenge Crist's authority for the gambling compact aside from Senate President Ken Pruitt.


Thursday, July 17 , 2008
Thomas Johnson