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Gulfstream Challenges Seminole Gaming Compact

On November 29th, 2007, saying that its future depends on reviewing an Indian gaming compact, Gulfstream Park asked to be included in an important court case that may decide the limits of a governor's power and set the future for the gaming industry in Florida.

In their case to the Florida State Supreme Court, the lawyers for the Hallandale Beach racing track and casino stated a bleak future for Gulfstream Park, the racing market and the taxpayers if Gov. Charlie Crist's gaming compact agreement with the Seminole Indian Tribe is passed.

Gulfstream said that they and other horse racing related markets regularly contribute $3 billion to the economy of Florida and provide jobs for a lot of people. The compact could affect a lot of people if the tribe receives the exclusive opportunity to offer blackjack and other casino games.

Lawyer Cynthia S. Tunnicliff said that in terms of fees and taxes given to the state government, Gulfstream Park pays about $30 million. This will be all affected if the gambling compact will be approved. Just earlier this month, Gov. Crist reached an agreement with the Seminole tribe that will allow them to offer blackjack, baccarat and slots in return for a $375 million over the first three years of the twenty five year gaming compact.

Crist and the Seminole Tribe commented that the payment will grow bigger, although opponents said that the state is in a bad position because of some provision on the compact that will permit the tribe to stop payment to the state if it is violated. Just last week, the state House filed a petition asking the State Supreme Court to decide that Gov. Crist overstepped the boundaries of his position and that the legislature must approve the gaming compact.

The tribe petitioned to be included in the case filed by the critics. Gulfstream and the attorney for House said that the gaming compact ignores the rights of the legislature to approve any changes in the law.

If the court agrees, the compact maybe voided or send to the House. If the court rules in favor of Crist, the gaming compact must be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


12/26/2007 07:22 PM


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