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Roundtable Objects to Seminole Compact
November 16 2007

Elaine Merritt, 850-445-8770

The Florida Policy Roundtable objects to the deal Governor Charlie Crist signed earlier this week with the Seminole Tribe. Governor Crist needs to do more homework on the issue of Tribal Sovereignty and The Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act of 1988. The Governor has made a terrible decision by giving exclusive rights to Seminoles to operate casino games that will remain illegal for the rest of Florida. Granting “special rights” to tribes was not the intent of IGRA, and Governor Crist has created a state-guaranteed monopoly unlike any other. By shutting out the Attorney General and Legislature from this process, and blaming the federal government, Governor Crist will be putting the entire Florida tourism industry at risk. Florida has always been known as a place where families bring children to make memories that lasted for lifetimes. Vegas tried to become child friendly in the late 90’s, but learned the hard way that mixing family vacations with gambling just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, Governor Crist didn’t get the memo.

“When the vacation destinations in other parts of the state take a hit, what will Governor Crist do about those lost jobs?” stated Elaine Merritt, Legislative Director for The Florida Policy Roundtable. “The gambling-tourism industry will be funneled into tribal-owned casinos and hotels that do not operate under the same tax structures as other businesses. Furthermore, his contract with the Tribe holds the state hostage for any additional gambling expansion for non-Tribal owners. If even one casino opens up in expanded policy the Tribe will cease all payments promised to the State. This terrible decision by Governor Crist will have a negative impact on Florida’s economy for many years to come.”

The Roundtable is a state-based public, non-profit education and research organization founded in 1980. The Florida Roundtable Legislative Director is Mrs. Elaine Merritt of Tallahassee.

For more information, visit APRoundtable.org. For interviews and follow up, contact Mrs. Elaine Merritt at emerritt@aproundtable.org and 850-445-8770 or Mr. Rob Walgate, Vice-President, at 1.800.522.VOTE.