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Florida gambling deal has a number of "red flags"

1 September 2009

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- As reported by the St. Petersburg Times: "Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe on Monday signed a new gambling agreement to allow the tribe to keep its slot machines and black jack games at the tribe's Florida casinos in exchange for $150 million a year in payments to the state.

"The deal came down to the wire on the final day of the legislatively-imposed deadline as Crist and the tribe's chief officials signed the proposed 20-year compact behind close doors.

"The governor is expected to call a special session for October to ask legislator to sign off on the pact. But because it fails to meet many of the conditions sought by lawmakers to protect the state's parimutuel industry, it could be rejected and the governor would have to start over again.

"'There are some concerns,' said Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, the House's lead negotiator in the gambling negotiations.

"Among the 'red flags,' he said, are the facts that the tribe will operate blackjack and other banked card games at all seven of its casinos, instead of the three in Broward and Tampa as lawmakers had wanted. The agreement also gives the tribe exclusive operation of slot machines outside of Miami Dade and Broward. Lawmakers wanted to leave the door open to allowing for those games in horse and dog tracks 100 miles awy from the tribe's casinos..."

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