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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate consultant: Use organized crime laws to stop games at Hard Rock



A California lawyer and expert in Indian Gaming hired by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee has weighed in with this conclusion of law: the Seminole Tribe's operation of card games at their Hard Rock casinos in Florida is not only illegal but the state can shut them down using the same laws it uses to shut down organized crime.

"The governor had other options, but he chose to sign a compact that he did not have authority to sign,'' wrote I. Nelson Rose, a gaming attorney and professor of law at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California. "Once the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that the compact signed by Gov. Crist and the Seminole tribe was invalid, it became a nullity, regardless of any actions taken by the Secretary of Interior.

"The tribe was under the legal obligation to immediately cease operating all of its slot machines and banking card games. Continuing to run a Class III casino wihtout a valid compact is a violationg of federal and state law, and all of the statutes designed to fight organized crime can be used to prevent this illegal gambling from continuing.''

The 31-page memo has been distributed to the members of the Senate committee, as well as the members of the House select committee on gambling oversight. Download Senate Legal Opinion on Gaming Compact 

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:31pm]


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