House Speaker to feds: Gambling talks “at an impasse”by Dara Kam | October 21st, 2009
House Speaker Larry Cretul asked federal officials to intervene in gambling talks between Florida and the Seminoles, saying negotiations “are at an impasse.”
Cretul wrote a letter today to National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman George Skibine, who met with the speaker and the House’s chief gambling negotiator Bill Galvano yesterday, asking the feds to fine the Indians or shut them down.
Crist this week said he wanted lawmakers to address the gambling compact in a special session in December.
Cretul’s letter indicates that’s not going to happen.
The Florida Supreme Court last year tossed an agreement signed by Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminoles and lawmakers this year failed to pass a revised version of the pact.
Under Crist’s latest plan, the Seminoles would have paid $150 million a year to the state for education in exchange for Las Vegas-style slot machines and blackjack and other card games at its Hollywood and Tampa casinos as well as its Brighton and Big Cypress locales in Broward County.
The Seminoles have continued to run the games even without an agreement with the state, irking GOP House leaders and Attorney General Bill McCollum, who accuse the tribe of breaking the law.
“Until the banked card games (and slot machines) are shut down and the Tribe gives some indication that it is willing to abide by the law, and ultimately its agreements, it would appear the state would be ill-advised to enter into any compact with the Tribe,” Cretul, R-Ocala, wrote to Skibine.
Not true, the Seminoles objected in a statement.
They say the Court only ruled that Crist did not have authority to enter into the compact with the tribe without the legislature’s approval but did not toss the entire agreement.
“Contrary to the letter from Speaker Cretul, the Florida Supreme Court did not invalidate the 2007 Compact, which received federal approval in January 2008. In fact, the Court only addressed a narrow aspect of the
Governor’s authority and specifically declined to address the status of the Compact under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Since the federal approval of the Tribe’s 2007 Compact has not been reversed by
any judicial or administrative decision, the Compact remains in effect as a matter of federal law. The Tribe’s gaming facilities continue to operate in full compliance with the 2007 Compact,” the statement reads.