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The Seminole Indians have the upper hand against the State of Florida in the current issue of expanded gambling within the State. As a Sovereign Nation within the United States, the Seminoles are allowed to offer any type of gaming that is allowed in Florida. With the passage of law allowing Class III slots in Broward County, the Seminoles are allowed to offer Class III games as well.
Class III games include table games such as Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, and video poker.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has proven to be a responsible entity within the gambling community and is seeking to offer such types of gambling that will increase the wealth of the nation and help its citizens, as well as contribute to Florida’s finances. Currently, the Seminoles are negotiating with Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist, who has publicly come out against the expansion of gambling in his bid to win the governorship, for the right to offer such gambling.
The United States has made it clear that if Florida does not negotiate in good faith with the Indian Tribe, the Department of the Interior, which oversees Tribal activity, will step in and decide what the Seminoles may or may not offer in this area. If this is allowed to happen, Florida will see expanded gambling without the benefit of additional tax revenue.
Gov. Crist is doing all he can to satisfy both the Seminoles and also find ways to prevent further expansion of gaming. This is difficult as those parimutuals that have slots are closely watching and there is much buzz within the industry of the possibility of Florida to allow those existing state regulated slots venues to also offer video table games, such as there are in Pennsylvania and Delaware, as these are not considered by definition as live dealer gaming.
An agreement between the two sides appears imminent, the State of Florida is hoping to cover shortfalls in their budget with an influx of cash from the Tribe, and Gov. Crist is trying to limit the types of gaming that will be allowed. In the released prospective proposals on Friday all of them were slightly different but all agreed on the terms that the Seminoles would be allowed blackjack and baccarat, but not roulette and craps. The Seminoles are receptive to this and are anxious to ready their existing casino sites for expansion of such games.
There will be a meeting Tuesday between the State of Florida, the Seminole Indians and the Department of the Interior to go over all proposals and seek approval of any such deal.
Areas that are being negotiated are exclusivity, consumer protections, revenue sharing, inspections of casinos, providing non-smoking areas and other minor areas of regulation and enforcement.