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State Court Invalidates Gaming Compact Agreement Between Seminoles And Florida

The Supreme Court of Florida has decided on July 3rd, 2008 that Governor Charlie Crist have overstepped the boundaries of his power when he unilaterally approved a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe from Florida to offer slot machines and card games like blackjack to its facilities in the state. The court added that the Governor could not permit the Seminole tribe to offer casino games that were not allowed in other parts of the state.

Although Class III slot machines are already approved by the voters from Miami Dade and Broward, the state law does not allow for card games like blackjack. Despite the decision, the spokesperson for the tribe, Gary Bitner commented that they have no plans to stop offering the games while they are still evaluating their legal options.

The Seminole Tribe, which has seven facilities in Florida, began offering slot machines in January 2008 and began offering card games like blackjack and baccarat at their Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Governor Crist, who is a member of the Republican Party, signed the gaming compact agreement with the Seminole Tribe on November 17th, 2007.

The Seminole Tribe had unsuccessfully negotiated for the gambling compact with the other past Governors from both parties for almost sixteen years before sealing the deal with Governor Crist. Governor Crist said that he negotiated the deal for the slot machines since voters already allowed it on dog and horse racing tracks in South Florida. Without the additional incentives, the tribe would not have been required to pay the state some compensation. Gary Bitner said that they already have given $60.4 million to Florida.


Sunday, July 20 , 2008
Victor Sanchez