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Florida Pari-Mutuels Waiting On Seminoles Gambling Compact

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Some people believe that state racetracks in Florida will be hurt if a gambling compact is reached between the Seminole Indian tribe and the state. here are others, however, that believe the racetracks could be saved by the compact agreement.

"If the new gambling laws are adopted in the state of Florida, the racetracks would benefit as much, if not more, than the Seminoles," says gaming analyst Mike Greeney, "there is no doubt the new gaming laws would bring much more gambling to South Florida."

Included in the deal that was struck by lawmakers in Florida is lower taxes and higher poker limits. That could save a racing industry that is struggling much like other racetracks around the country. The difference is that in Florida, the laws are contingent on the Seminoles accepting the deal.

The Seminoles are balking at the fact that they will not gain the exclusivity they desire for certain casino games. The state, meanwhile, has said that there is no negotiation room for the current deal.

Governor Charlie Crist already has negotiated a compact with the Seminoles back in 2006, but legislators were unhappy they were not involved in the process. They brought the issue to the state Supreme Court, and the compact was voided.

Now, legislators have given Crist the permission to negotiate a new compact, but only under the parameters that they have approved. That has put Crist, who has a good working relationship with the Seminoles, in a tough position.

So while the Seminoles ponder their options, the state pari-mutuels sit and wait. They can only hope that the state and Seminoles work things out, or it could be the beginning of the end for their gaming businesses.

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