Gambling Expansion

Florida Legislators Will Not Back Seminole Gambling Expansion

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As has been reported here at CGW, Florida Governor Charlie Crist is close to getting a deal done with the Seminole Indians that would allow Vegas style slots, as well as Blackjack and Baccarat.

On Monday, however, that pending agreement was put in jeopardy as State House leaders claimed they would not ratify such an agreement.

Marco Rubio, the House Speaker, in a letter to Governor Crist said that his chamber would not support an agreement that would allow more than what is already offered in Broward County. In other words, table game expansion would not be supported.

Although the addition of these games would give a major boost to the states economy, Rubio had this to say,”Because of our opposition to the expansion of gambling, we believe that the pursuit of increased revenue for the state should be of secondary importance in Florida’s negotiations with the tribe.”

He went on to say in the letter, which was signed by Rubio and his top lieutenants,”For us, money is not and never will be the primary consideration. Rather, we believe the aim of the negotiations should be to agree to the bare minimum amount of gambling to which the Tribe is entitled to under law.”

The problem with Rubio’s thinking and statement, is that it does not seem well researched. The Seminole Indians are not asking for anything that is not already legal according to law. The new law in affect gives access to class three gambling licenses, that is what the Vegas style slots that Broward County allows, falls under.

The Seminoles are simply stating that if slots are legal under the class three license, then so too should Blackjack and Baccarat, both games that also fall under the class three gambling license.

Governor Crist has realized the problem for the state here if the Seminoles case goes to Federal Court, so he has decided to enter into negotiations with the tribe to get the state a portion of the profits.

Crist has said before that he would like to offer legislators a say on the compact, but he does not feel legally that he must have their approval, and he plans on having the compact ready by next week.

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