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Florida's Legislature Challenges Gaming Compact Between Gov. Crist and Seminole Tribe

On March 30th, 2008, the state supreme court of Florida has given permission to arguments in a case that will study the powers of the state governor in deciding major issues like gaming expansion allowed arguments in a case that will review the extent of a governor's power on deciding gaming expansion in the state. At the center of the squabble is the twenty-five year gambling compact finalized back in November by Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida and the Seminole Tribe, giving permission to the tribe offer Las Vegas Slot machines and card games like blackjack and baccarat which is otherwise illegal in Florida.

In a power face-off between Florida's two famous Republicans, House Speaker Marco Rubio has contested Gov. Crist's power to decide on the deal, commenting that the Governor has overstepped the boundary of his authority. But while the state Supreme Court was studying the arguments regarding the case in Tallahassee, the players at the Seminole Casino in Hollywood were already playing the Las Vegas style slot machines under the gaming compact.

The slot machines will also be offered into two other casino facilities in Broward County and to other facilities like the Seminole Casino in Tampa, according to spokesperson Gary Bitner. House Speaker Rubio's lawyer, Jon Mills said to the court that by allowing such slot machines, Crist made a wrong decision and wrongfully set aside the legislature. The lawyer of Gov. Crist, Chris Kise commented that the Governor has thoroughly followed the federal law in all of his decisions and the legislature's decision is not really needed in this setting.

What may affect Rubio's position is that the legislature has ignored a chance to approve a law that states that the legislature should be consulted about a gaming compact. The justices asked both parties for an hour but gave no deadline on any decision that they will make regarding the issue. The lawyer for the Seminole Indian Tribe, Barry Richards commented that even if the court decides on their favor, it could take a lot of time to offer blackjack and baccarat to their customers.


05/06/2008 01:44 PM


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