Expanded Gaming a Sure Bet?


Today is the deadline the US Interior Department has given the State of Florida to work out a deal with the Seminole Indian Tribe over gambling. At issue is Las Vegas-style gaming in all of the tribe's Florida casinos. WUSF's Carson Cooper talks with gambling opponent James Smith, editor of the Florida Baptist Witness.

Among the questions that need resolving: how much revenue should the state get in exchange for giving the Seminoles exclusive rights to games that are now outlawed in Florida?

House and Senate leaders have come out against the expanded gambling in Florida, as has the governor. But, the state is in a budget crunch. And Governor Crist recently suggested that if the Seminoles go ahead and expand gambling anyway, without an agreement, the state would lose out.

James A. Smith is the editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. Carson spoke to him this morning from his home in Jacksonville.

The tribe's lawyer Barry Richard said this week that the Seminoles have agreed not to seek craps and roulette, but the tribe still wants blackjack and other card games.

The deal under consideration between could mean $50 million immediately for the state and more than $100 million a year thereafter.

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