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Politics

Seminole Tribe Of Florida Pleas For Renewal Of Card Game Agreement

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The Seminole Tribe of Florida wants to keep its exclusive rights to blackjack and other banked card games, but the Legislature's abrupt adjournment this year might have dealt the tribe a bad hand. 

Florida House and Senate leaders were talking with tribal lawyers about a renewal. Then, the House suddenly adjourned three days before the official end of the legislative session because of a budget stalemate.

The current agreement with the tribe covers five Indian casinos and gives the state at least $1 billion in payments over five years. The deal expires at the end of July.

So, the tribe sent a letter to lawmakers citing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The federal law requires the state to negotiate with the tribe in good faith.

A new deal would have to be approved during a special session. Lawmakers already have to return to Tallahassee to deal with the budget, and they may not to take up the Tribe’s cause. The Senate president has said he’s open to letting the deal expire.