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Gambling deal on its way to governor

by Dara Kam | April 19th, 2010

A gambling deal that promises to bring at least $1 billion to the state over the next five years is on its way to Gov. Charlie Crist, who has promised to sign it into law.

The Florida House approved the measure (SB 622) by a 74-39 vote this afternoon.

It’s the third time Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida have signed off on a compact allowing the tribe to operate banked card games, including blackjack, and slot machines at its casinos.

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.

The agreement 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.

Rep. Bill Galvano, the House’s chief gambling negotiator who helped craft the pact, said the bill won’t expand gambling in Florida because the tribe has already launched the games.

Proponents of the agreement say the deal with the Seminoles could transform Florida into the Las Vegas of the Southeast and pave the way for other, non-tribal gambling operations in the future.

But opponents of the measure argued that more gambling will bring a host of problems to the state.

“If you want gambling like that you should go to Las Vegas. And what happens in Las Vegas should stay in Las Vegas,” said Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach.

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5 Responses to “Gambling deal on its way to governor”

  1. David Leonard Says:

    Does this mean we are going to get roulette and craps anytime soon? $25 blackjack tables are extreme in this economy. Sure would be nice if the casinos would offer free coctails for those who play at these high limit tables.

  2. Dude Here Says:

    It’s unfair to give a monopoly on casinos to the Indians. A man is just a man. I feel sorry for their ancestors who walked the trail of tears, etc. But that was the past. We kicked their asses fair and square.

    Other countries fought in those days. It was the way things were in those times. Monopolies and discrimination is something we are trying to do away from today. Let’s not favor one because of the past.

  3. Glen Says:

    Dude Here, We didn’t kick their asses fair and square you r-tard.. We had vastly superior weaponry, diseases that their bodies had no immunity too, and a bloodthirsty expansionist idea. Nothing was fair about how we Moved in and TOOK THEIR SHIT. We obliterated them. No more than 3 million remain, when there were roughly 50 to 100 million before EUropean colonization.

    Let ‘em have their casinos, most people are playing online now anyway.

  4. jimee Says:

    A few comments on the gaming compact. Why wasn’t the expansion of gambling put before the citizens of Florida for a vote? The previous voter approval only gave the okay to slot machine casinos. Hopefully the U.S. Dept. Of Interior will not give their approval if only on this point alone. Next, a major problem exists as there are no safeguards for the protection of casino patrons. In fact, from the beginning Florida is known as a state that does not regulate casinos. All FL agrees too is the lenghth of compacts and monies to be received with no reguard to the actual casino operation. The Seminoles have been fleecing their patrons with an extremely low rate of return from the “slots”. Our politicians have no clue reguarding what casino operation statutes should be in place. Fl Dept. Of Taxation only checks on the revenues and receipt of monies from the Seminoles to the state. Beyond that the “Dept.” is “DAH!!”. A statute is needed setting the return from slots at a level comparable to the level set in regulated states. Casinos in Nevada return between 90 and 95 percent of monies put through their slots. The Seminoles’ return is considerably below that ( at least 10 percent lower). No wonder the Seminoles had a net profit 1.9 billion for the year 2008. They are legally stealing their patrons’ money for lack of proper regulation. Also, slots need to be set to their return level and not manipulated frequently during the day as is the case at all Seminole casinos. This protection would give a patron the same chance of winning at any time of day. Next, where is the competition? The out of state operators recently offered Fl a much better deal than the Seminoles but that subject has been hushed up and “slid under the rug”. I’ll let you figure out the probable reason for that!! Finally,(no applause please), there wasn’t supposed to be anything in the new agreement that went beyond 5 years but I notice where an extension of slots’ rights is going to be guaranteed for 20 years. Again, with no public comment allowed on the matter. Ah, I can almost hear the lobbyists’ dollars exchanging hands!!

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