Seminole compact negotiations continue
Less than a day after imploring the Florida Legislature to approve a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist met Wednesday with the lead House negotiator to continue to press the issue.
The Bradenton Herald reported that Crist and Rep. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, met for about 30 minutes Wednesday to talk about the negotiations.
Galvano told the newspaper he gave the governor assurances that a deal can be reached. But the deal will differ from the one Crist and the Seminoles proposed to the Florida Legislature late last year that would have allowed blackjack and other banked card games at all seven of the tribe's Florida casinos.
Galvano and the Legislature have advocated for expanded card games at just four of the seven casinos to protect the pari-mutuel industry, which also provides tax revenues to the state. Galvano said he is working with the Seminoles on a new deal that can be presented to the governor.
Blackjack is being offered at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, although a new compact has not been approved. Galvano has argued that the card games are being offered illegally, given that the previous gaming deal that would have allowed them was rejected by the Legislature.
Crist, in his State of the State speech on Tuesday, prodded the Legislature to approve the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. Crist has estimated that more than $400 million in revenue would come to the state this year if a deal is reached.
In his speech, Crist noted he was not “a big fan of gambling,” but he urged "realism."