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Florida Senate Hopes to Change the Seminole Gaming Compact

On December 11th, 2007, Senate officials in Florida are planning to modify the gaming compact between the governor and the Seminole Tribe if the state Supreme Court sides with the legislature. Senate lawyer Jay Vail said to the Regulated Industries Committee that a victory would give permission to the legislature to make their own agreement with the Seminole Tribe.

Vail said that Gov. Charlie Crist acted on his own although there is nothing in the law that allows the Governor as the lone negotiator with the Seminole Tribe. House Speaker Marco Rubio has sued Governor Crist, saying that the governor has overstepped his power by consulting the legislature with the gaming compact. The compact allows the tribe to offer Class III slot machines, blackjack and baccarat.

The chairman of the Senate committee that oversees gambling, Sen. Dennis Jones commented that he wants the Seminole gambling compact to be changed in order to protect the 26 non-Indian tribe owned casinos around the state. The compact also gives right to the Seminole Tribe the sole chance to offer Class II and Class III slot machines outside of the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The tribe has to pay $100 million in yearly payments to the state. If the state gives permission to any pari-mutuels outside of Miami-Dade and Broward to offer the same games, the tribe will stop the payments. The federal government has until December 29th, 2007 to approve or bypass the Seminole gambling compact. Seminole leader Jim Shore said that they will wait until the gambling compact has been approved before they order the machines.


01/06/2008 07:36 PM
Ann Pettersson