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House, Senate, Governor Square off over Gaming

April 6th, 2009 by flanews

New numbers show expanded gambling on Indian reservations may not be as lucrative as some in the state capitol have hoped. The House would limit gaming. The Senate would expand it, and the Governor wants the deal he cut last year. As Whitney Ray tells us, the differences may make it hard for lawmakers to reach a deal by the end of the session.

The House, the Senate and the Governor are showing their cards and all three have different plans to expand gambling at Seminole casinos. After a week of backing the Senates proposal Governor Charlie Crist changed his bet.

Were talking about the original compact and I think thats what the tribe is interested in, Crist said Friday

The House passed a scaled down version of the compact limiting the expansion to Vegas Style slots.

Any of these changes are going to be slow coming, said House Gaming Chairman Bill Galvano.

The Senates version allows the tribe to expand gaming to Craps and Roulette… which would raise millions more than the other proposals. Senator Jim King said the Governor and the House are putting on their poker-faces.

Some of its posture, and some of it is posture that has to take place, said Senator King.

King said the three billion dollar state budget shortfall will force a comprise.

The Tribe is already operating games approved in the original compact and setting money aside for the state. 288 million dollars is in an escrow account until a deal is reached.

Governor Charlie Crist says if lawmakers dont act soon the federal government will allow the tribe to play the games and the state will miss out on millions. Of course what ever the state decided is just the first step. The Seminole tribe will still have to sign off on the state deal.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Gambling, Legislature, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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