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Florida Given 60 Days to Deal With Seminoles Over Full Gambling

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The state of Florida has 60 days to reach an agreement with the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida over the expansion of gambling for the Seminole casinos in the state.

In a letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said he would rather see the two sides reach an agreement than have the federal government enforce rules that would allow the Seminoles to start Las Vegas style gaming.

"If the parties do not reach an agreement on all or most of the outstanding issues within the next 60 days, I will review my options at that time," said Kempthorne in his letter to Crist.

As we reported earlier, the Seminoles are arguing they have the right to install any Class III gaming which includes table games, after voters in Broward County approved Vegas style slots last year.

Florida is in a unique position to offer this type of gaming on an exclusive basis to the Seminoles. If done right, the State could limit the number of casinos and at the same time prevent larger gambling enterprises from entering the Florida market. The state is hoping to craft a deal that will give it a percentage of the slots for exclusive rights within the state for full feature casinos.

If the State fails to reach an accord with the Seminoles within the 60 day time period, it is certain to be the big loser. A result of no deal would mean the Interior Department would allow the Seminoles to expand to full Vegas style gambling and at that point it would not be required to share any revenue or do any reporting to the state.

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