Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole casino deal with Florida remains in holding pattern

TALLAHASSEE — Negotiations over a gambling deal between the governor and Seminole Tribe have been on hold for the past three weeks as both parties await word on whether the House and Senate will modify their take-it or leave-it offer.

"The ball is kind of in their court,'' said George LeMieux, former chief of staff for Gov. Charlie Crist and now on the legal team representing the governor in the talks.

But legislative leaders seem unlikely to budge from the blueprint they wrote during the spring legislative session and say it's their final offer to the tribe.

"I don't necessarily think we're in a negotiating mood," said House Speaker Larry Cretul on Tuesday.

Rep. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican who has been the House's point man on the issue, attended the early July meeting with the tribe and governor's lawyers and told them the legislation is their final word.

"They want a counteroffer and that's not what the legislation called for," Galvano told the Times/Herald.

The Legislature gave the governor until Aug. 31 to complete an agreement, or compact, with the tribe that would formally give it the right to operate slot machines and blackjack, baccarat and chemin de fer at tribal casinos in South Florida.

The deal also allows the tribe the exclusive right to operate slot machines at its casinos in Tampa and Central and southwest Florida. In exchange, the tribe would pay the state at least $150 million a year.

Lawmakers didn't rule out the option for expanded gambling elsewhere. But if lawmakers expand gambling, the tribe won't owe the state as much money.

The Seminoles want the exclusive right to slot machines outside of South Florida. The failure of legislators to guarantee that provision was the sticking point during the one-day meeting, several participants said.

Senate President Jeff Atwater's chief of staff, Bud Kneip, attended the meeting and supported Galvano's position that "the Legislature had acted," said Senate spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof.

LeMieux said he fears that if the state fails to close the deal with the Seminoles, the federal government will step in and give the tribe gaming with no limits, and Florida will receive no new revenue from the tribe.

Galvano believes that if the tribe rejects the legislative offer, the federal government won't step in and the tribe will have to take the state or federal government to court.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at [email protected]

Seminole casino deal with Florida remains in holding pattern 07/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs


    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …