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Seminole Attorney Says Gambling Deal Near

September 10th, 2007 by flanews

     Florida and the Seminole Tribe are closing in on a deal that could help bring in $50 million right away for the state.  But as Chris Casquejo tells us, lawmakers want the final say in approving the deal.

Hear it here:  Seminoles and state near gambling deal 

     The Seminole Tribe and Florida are near a deal to allow slot machines and some table games in Indian casinos.  But a tribe spokesman says not roulette or craps.
     “The tribe would agree to pay the state an upfront payment of $50 million dollars, guarantee that the state would receive a minimum payment of $100 million ,” said Barry Richard, the attorney representing the Seminole Tribe.
     Richard says the deal will likely bring in a lot more, maybe $1 billion over five years.  And he says nothing in the current compact that’s being negotiated will prevent lawmakers or voters from expanding gambling.
     Key lawmakers say don’t bet on that happening.
     “I personally have never been one to want to balance the budget on the backs of people gambling or what I would call maybe the weaknesses of people,” said Rep. Ray Sansom.
     Sansom and Rep. Dean Cannon are among Republican lawmakers who signed a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist, saying that a compact will not be valid unless lawmakers ratify it first.   Crist says a deal is no guarantee. 
     “I look at it as opportunity, but not a necessity,” Gov. Crist said.  “And I think that needs to be clear as we negotiate.”
     The Seminole Tribe’s attorney is more optimistic.  He expects a deal in place by the end of this week.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Gambling, Politics, State Budget, State News | 1 Comment »

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