Court Rejects Governor’s Casino Deal With Tribe

     TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist does not have the authority to sign a compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe to expand casino gambling on their lands, the Florida Supreme Court ruled.

     The state legislature had sued Crist, stating that he lacked the authority to legalize activities that were prohibited under state law.
     The compact, which Crist signed in November 2007, allows the tribe to operate slot machines and run card games such as blackjack and baccarat. Roulette and craps are not permitted under the compact.
     The compact also called for the tribe to share revenue with the state, based on the exception the governor granted for blackjack and baccarat. These “banked” card games are prohibited elsewhere in the state.
     The deal would have been worth $225 million to the state in the first two years alone. However, Justice Cantero ruled that Crist went too far in granting the exception.
     “The governor does not have the authority to agree to legalize in some parts of the state … conduct that is otherwise illegal throughout the state,” Cantero wrote.

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