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Seminole Tribe to Appeal State Court Decision Regarding Class III Games on the State

On July 3rd, 2008, a decision made by Supreme Court of Florida negated Governor Charlie Crist's gaming compact that given permission to the Seminole Indian Tribe to feature Class III slot machines and card games like blackjack at their casino facilities like their Hard Rock casino chain. But players can rest assure that the card games will continue for now. Currently, the U.S. Interior Department is studying the decision.

The tribe's lawyer, Barry Richards commented that the main authority to decide on the legality of the card games is the Department of Interior, not the Florida state Supreme Court. Richards said that the court is not in the position to dictate to an Indian tribe what they should do in their tribal land. The Seminole tribe, which bought the Hard Rock chain of hotels for $965 million began putting up Class III Las Vegas style slot machines in their gaming facilities in January 2008 this year and began offering blackjack and other card games at the Hollywood facility of the tribe, which drew around forty thousand players on its first week.

The court's decision could cost Florida million of dollars in lost gaming profits. It also handed a vital win to House Speaker Marco Rubio, who filed the lawsuit to stop the implementation of the gaming compact in November. The Justices like Justice Raoul Cantero did not answer the question on whether Governor Crist has the power to unilaterally negotiate a gaming compact but rejected the compact on the grounds that games that are not allowed all over the statre should not be offered in tribal lands.

Barry Richard said that they will talked with the Governor to discuss their options. The National Indian Gaming Commission commented that are also reviewing the decision of the court. The former chief of staff of Governor Crist, George LeMieux who negotiated the gambling compact commented that both House Speaker Rubio and the state Supreme Court did not understand the nature of the gaming compact, which was made amid the confusing state, federal and tribal rules. He firmly believes that the justices made the wrong decision because federal Indian gambling law can supersede the existing state gambling laws.


Tuesday, July 22 , 2008
Kim Watson