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Gaming Compact in Doubt

September 11th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

More than 162 million dollars in payments from the Seminole Indians is in a state bank account, waiting for state lawmakers to ratify the gambling deal negotiated with the Governor. But hope for a quick rubber stamp of the deal Charlie Crist negotiated is not in the cards.

Charlie Crist negotiated a 20 year deal with the Seminole Tribe

State lawmakers authorized just 15 years.

The governor gave the tribe exclusive rights to slots outside of South Florida. Lawmakers said he couldnt do that.

Crist also would allow high stakes card games at all 7 Seminole Casinos. Lawmakers specified just 4.

So far the governor is throwing snake eyes.

Lawmakers took the Governor to court in 2008 and won, and were able to stop the compact then. Their objections now threaten to torpedo this deal as well.

Crist and his supporters have banked on an October special session to ratify the deal. But state senators like Dave Aronberg say that isnt happening.

We passed it, and now it has been changed, and I dont think were in a rush to come up here and just put a rubber stamp on it, says Aronberg.

The Seminoles are remaining mum over the dispute. Their Lawyers and Lobbyists have been told to be quiet. But the tribe still believes it has the best hand, and will get gaming from the Federal government with or without state authorization. If that happens, the state would get nothing.

The next step is for legislative committees to draft a list of questions or objections about the deal for the Governor. Answers are due back In early October. Meanwhile, the ever optimistic Charlie Crist remains just that.

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