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Seminoles Propose to Phase Shift to Las Vegas Style Slot Machines

On October 3rd, 2007, in the latest rough draft of the gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Charlie Crist and the state government, tribal officials propose to put the conversion to Las Vegas style slot machines into phases, which will give higher payout for customers and higher revenues for the casino owners.

The Seminole Tribe propose to change 75% of their video bingo terminals within 2 years and the rest of their machines within the span of 5 years and would give the state government the same exact amount of cash regardless on whether the tribe pursue the change of their machines or not.

Gov. Crist and tribal officials have been talking for the past five months to finalize an agreement that would give more gaming rights to the tribe. The state is pushing to finalize the agreement because the U.S. Department of Interior has said that they will step in and give permission to the tribe to host slot machines, leaving the state out of the potential profits.

The Seminole Tribe's lawyer, Barry Richard said that there is nothing new about the agreement and he is hopeful that both sides will soon solve the issue. Crist's office is hopeful that an agreement can be finalize this month.

Richard commented that Florida will make the deadline for removing the bingo style slots, which are categorized as Class II gaming machines and gives out less cash and replacing it with Class III gaming machines.

The Seminole Tribe wants to extend their gaming compact from twenty years to twenty-five years. The tribe also wants to stop giving payments to Florida if the pari-mutuels reduce their net profit to $1.37 billion instead of $1.35 billion.

Richard said that both parties still need to resolve the amount the state will receive from the agreement. The Seminole Tribe has agreed to pay Florida $50 million and a minimum of $100 a year after the $50 million initial payment but nothing is yet final regarding the financial side of the agreement.

The legislature will have the final say on the agreement. If Gov. Crist goes ahead with the agreement and bypasses the legislature, some lawmakers said that they will be filing a lawsuit against it. Broward County's pari-mutuels also said that expanded gambling could destroy their racinos. The vice president of Isle of Capri in Pompano Beach Allan Solomon said that the effect will be devastating and may result in loss of jobs.


Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Alex Van Der Butz