The state of Florida is in a peculiar situation when it comes to expanded gambling involving the Seminole Indians and their casinos. A compact needs to be completed, but legislators, both Democrat and Republican, are putting personal interests in front of the good of the state.
Governor Charlie Crist is inciting some of his fellow Republicans by crossing party lines and lobbying for the completion of the Seminole Indians casino compact that he originally signed back in 2007. The conservative Republicans do not want any form of expanded gambling in the state.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are saying thanks, but no thanks, to the governor. They are supportive of expanded casino gambling in the state, but cannot go along with the compact because many of the Democrats in power in the state have ties to South Florida’s pari-mutuel tracks.
This has made the business of completing the compact with the Seminoles an almost impossible task. If the compact, as written, was put in place, the Seminoles would have had blackjack and baccarat exclusively to themselves.
Democrats will be lobbying that if a compact with the Seminoles is signed, that the exclusivity part should be taken out. If that is achieved, then they can begin to lobby for pari-mutuels to also be allowed the Las Vegas table games.
Republicans do not like either of these outcomes, so they are fighting to have no compact and no expanded gambling laws. That would leave them searching to replace the millions of dollars that would be lost from additional gambling revenue.
For the first time in a long time in the state, Democrats and Republicans have come together for a common cause. The irony is the common cause is the compact, something that could pump millions into a floundering state budget.