While the controversy over more casino gambling still swirls in Florida, a new compact was formed between Governor Charlie Crist and the Seminole Indian Tribe.The governor says this will add over $1 billion to state coffers over the next two years, a big consideration with current budget problems. Crist also says that the compact could potentially create 45,000 new jobs.
The Florida House of Representatives approved the terms for the new gambling agreement on April 21 and the governor is applying pressure to the legislature to also pass the proposal.The bills would stop the Seminoles from offering card games like baccarat and blackjack at their Florida casinos but would give them exclusive rights to operate slot machines in counties that don’t already have them.
Under the terms of the plan, pari-utuel businesses would be allowed to be more competitive by enabling longer hours and higher betting limits.Other slot machine licensees would get a lower tax rate along with a minimum annual payment.
Representative Bill Galvano, chairman of the committee reviewing the compact, said that he feels they have found “a conservative approach, and one I felt was very reasonable and one that did not full-on expand gambling.That’s why I believe the members were able to, in a significant majority, support it.”
“We’re looking at getting money from the Tribe without diminishing money coming in from our pari-mutuels,” Galvano continued.“It’s really a challenge to our pari-mutuels to invest in our economy and create jobs without expanding games in Florida.”