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Bill McCollum Works Hard to Stop Baccarat and Blackjack Games at Seminole Facilities
Attorney General Bill McCollum of Florida said that they are trying to convince the Federal Government on January 3rd, 2009 to prosecute the Seminole Tribe over its continued refusal to stop offering baccarat and blackjack games. Aside from that, a committee on the state house began talking on how to form a new gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. McCollum recently sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General's office in Tampa Florida regarding the issue.
Since summer, the Seminole Tribe has been offering their customers Class III slot machines and the casino table games of baccarat and blackjack after it finalized a gaming compact with Governor Charlie Crist almost a year ago. But the Supreme Court of Florida has shot down the gaming compact, which gave the Seminole Indian Tribe the exclusive rights to feature baccarat and blackjack as well as the assurance that the state of Florida would not allow slot machines beyond the Miami Dade County and Broward County. The Supreme Court justices said that Governor Crist do not have sole authority to decide on whether to approve the gaming compact and should have consulted the Florida House.
McCollum said that the fact that the Seminole Tribe expanded the game of baccarat and blackjack to its Tampa and Immokalee facility after the decision of the Supreme Court only shows the tribe's disrespect for the state law. But Bill McCollum does not possess any authority to block the casino games because they are on tribal land. A spokesman for the office of the U.S. Attorney General said that they have received the letter from McCollum but declined to comment on the letter.
Barry Richard, the lawyer for the Seminole Tribe said that the letter made by Bill McCollum does not make any sense at all and he cannot see the reason for it. Richard said that the whole issue is a regulatory one and that the Seminole Tribe is keeping an open line of communication with the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) about the whole thing. Richard said that the Seminole Tribe has already paid the state more than seventy-one million under the gambling compact, which guarantees the state at least $375 million over the first 3 years and least $100 million a year after that.
Richard said that contrary to what McCollum is claiming about the tribe's motive for quickly getting the games up and running, the tribe had to move quickly on installing the games so that it could fulfill its monetary obligations to the state. But for the time being, Seminole's payments have been placed in an account until the whole issue is settled. McCollum's letter to the U.S. Attorney General regarding criminally prosecuting the tribe has been approved by Representative Bill Galvano, who is the co-chairman of the Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review.
Galvano stated that the state's congressional delegation should also persuade federal officials to stop the game. The main goal of Galvano's committee was to proceed as if there is no previous gaming compact. The Federal officials persuaded Florida for a number of years now to make a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. Federal officials said that if the state will not negotiate a gaming compact in good faith, they will approve Seminole gaming with giving the state a part of the gambling revenues.
Sunday, March 08, 2009