Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a gaming compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe allowing them to have Las Vegas-style slots and games such as black jack and baccarat which are currently illegal in the state. The Florida Supreme Court has overturned this as they feel he does not have the right to do such without previously seeking the approval of the legislature. During his campaign Governor Crist said he would seek to keep expanded gambling from going through, he has obviously changed his mind.
Despite the high court’s ruling, the illegal games go on at the Seminole casino. The high court has determined it does not have jurisdiction in the matter, and the Seminoles have indicated they will continue the illegal games unless the U.S. Department of the Interior (who approved the compact and is responsible for tribal gaming) intercedes. In the meantime motions and lawsuits have been filed by just about everyone involved for one reason or another, but mostly as a stalling tactic to allow the casino to continue to operate the games.
The seven justices who make up the high court will be changing, with two retiring soon and two more stating they will be quitting, which means Governor Crist will have the opportunity to appoint four new justices to the bench. This could squash the issue for good, in his favor of course. Since the games are already there and only up and running for the past month, and he is hoping some time will allow clarity surrounding the issue. He has stated he is most interested in gaining revenue for teachers in the compact and that doing whats best for the state is his primary goal.
Many are overjoyed with the court’s ruling even if the gaming is still going on. It reaffirms their thoughts that Crist overstepped his boundaries when signing the compact. Many are looking forward to renegotiating the compact with the best interests of all parties involved. In the meanwhile the court’s ruling supports the system of checks and balances. The fight to make Florida one of the top gambling destination if not the top will go on undoubtedly. By time the case is re-heard there could very well be a different outcome, as the Las Vegas-style slots were approved for local referendums in a state 2004 amendment which shows the potential for change in the gambling laws and opportunities in the state.