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The Gaming Compact Conflict in Florida

On April 2nd, 2009, the state's House of Representatives select tribal gambling committee a basic Seminole gaming compact that would prohibit the Indian tribe from offering banked card table games at its seven gaming facilities in Florida.

Although the proposed gaming compact would gut the first gaming compact Governor Charlie negotiated with the Seminole tribe in 2007 giving them the rights to offer blackjack and baccarat, the gaming compact still assumes that the Seminole tribe will pay Florida $100 million dollars for the same opportunity to offer Class III slot machines as Broward County casinos are permitted under law.

The proposal would pocket most of those revenues to pay the bills of the state but in honor to the House Republicans' philosophical beliefs to gaming, it also allot five percent to local governments to help with the consequences of gaming. Rep. Bill Galvano, a Republican from Bradenton said that they have done really to recognize that they should not only address the gaming compact as it affects the tribe but also how it affects the whole state. But the gaming compact still has a long way to go.

The Senate has proposed an astonishing expansion that would make a no holds barred gaming on tribal casinos and permit Florida's pari-mutuels to also feature expanded gaming options to raise four hundred million dollars next year. Despite the decision of the House committee, Governor Charlie Crist said that he remains hopeful that the Legislature would approve the original compact and even held a conference with education groups and the Seminole tribe to ask legislators to reconsider the first version of the gaming compact.

Together with the leader of the state's teacher union, school boards and superintendent's association, Governor Crist repeated his frequent concern that without a valid gaming agreement, the Seminole tribe could get federal permission for its gambling operations without giving any cash to the state. Governor Crist refused to comment on either the House or Senate proposals, saying that they are more concerned with the original gaming compact and that is what all of the parties involved are interested in.


Tuesday, April 21 , 2009
Kim Watson