Governor Crist Pushes for Resolution of Seminole Gaming Compact Conflict

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Governor Crist Pushes for Resolution of Seminole Gaming Compact Conflict

On April 12th, 2009, the state of Florida is starting to compete with the state of Kansas when it comes to mishandling gaming issue. Kansas approved four brand new casino facilities in 2007 but still have not one constructed. Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe in December 2007, only to have state legislators appeal successfully to have the gaming compact invalidated by the state Supreme Court.

Now legislators will go back to work on Monday in Florida but the Seminole gaming issue is yet to be resolved. The state House and Senate have very different plans when it comes to gaming expansion. The current Senate gaming plan would introduce full blow casino gaming in Florida. The Seminole Indian Tribe would be given opportunity to offer casino games like craps and roulette as well as keep offering baccarat and blackjack. That would be in addition to Class III slot machines.

Florida pari-mutuel racing tracks would also receive the opportunity to expand their gaming offerings. The House gaming plan is a complete contrast with the Senate's gaming compact. It would strip the Seminole Indian Tribe of their right to feature baccarat and blackjack but would permit them to continue offering Class III slot machines.

Many gaming analysts believe that this would be complete unacceptable to the tribe. The key for legislators now is to come to a compromise between the two different gaming plans. The final result will most likely be something in between the two gaming plans. With time running out for the current legislative meeting and Governor Crist supporting to have the gaming issue resolved, this week could turn out to be an important one for Florida legislators.


Peter McCarthy