Gov. Crist, Seminole Tribe announce $1 billion gambling dealby Dara Kam | April 6th, 2010
Flanked by key lawmakers, Gov. Charlie Crist and leaders of the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced they have reached a gambling deal that would reap the state up to $1 billion over the next five years.
It’s the second time Crist and the Seminoles closed a gambling compact but the difference today is that lawmakers – who twice rejected those plans – played a major role in the negotiations leading up to today’s announcement.
“This cleans up and resolves a controversy that has been festering for the last two decades,” the House’s chief gambling negotiator Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said.
The latest deal would allow the Seminoles to continue banked card games – blackjack, baccarat and chemin de fer – at five of their seven casinos. Cards would not be allowed at the Brighton and Big Cypress facilities.
If lawmakers must sign off on the compact, it could rake in an extra $435 million for this year’s budget and help lawmakers struggling to fill a $3.2 billion spending gap for the year that begins July 1.
In return, the tribe will pay $150 million a year to the state for two years and a minimum of $223 million for three years that.
The agreement with the tribe also lets them keep running Las Vegas-style slot machines at each of their facilities for the next 20 years.
But the deal on the cards expires after five years. Then, lawmakers would have to renew it for it to stay in effect.