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Florida Lawmakers Still Weary Of Seminole Gambling Compact

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Governor Charlie Crist has signed a gambling compact with the Seminole Indians again last month, and for the second time, he may have his deal rejected by lawmakers in the state. Already, some politicians have come out against the new compact.

A special session is expected to be called for October and Crist wants the gambling compact approved so bad that he may even add other issues to be discussed during that special session. One of those issues could be off-shore drilling. He has received criticism, however, for adding any other issues to the agenda.

"That's not a two day special session topic,' said Senator Don Gaetz from Niceville, "It's much more complicated than drill baby drill, or a bumper sticker with a rig with a line through it."

While Gaetz's objection is to the multi-tasking at the special session, other lawmakers have concerns about the actual gambling compact. They claim that the state handcuffed itself too much by agreeing to some concessions the Seminoles requested.

One thing the state did accomplish was not giving the Seminoles exclusivity to table games. If lawmakers decide that Broward and Miami-Dade pari-mutuels should have blackjack and baccarat, then that option is available.

Legislators are continuing to look over the gambling compact, and some believe that there is too much to examine before a special session can be held. The governor may want the session to happen in October, but lawmakers are not that sure of the timing.

"Until we finish that (studying the compact) and have a good idea of what's in it, any talk of a special session is very premature,"s aid Senate President Jeff Atwater Spokeswoman Jaryn Emhoff.

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