Tampa Democrats split on bid for more gambling

09/13/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Federal officials say that the state of Florida and the Seminole Indians are close to a deal that would allow the tribe's casinos to offer Las Vegas-style slot machines with the potential to generate more than $100 million a year for the state.

Such an opportunity has been possible in the state for 17 years, but no previous Florida governor, especially Jeb Bush, ever showed any desire to make a deal with the Indians.

But Charlie Crist is unlike other governors.

Facing a billion dollar plus budget deficit this year, Crist said last week that he was inclined to make such an agreement.

On Tuesday, WMNF asked two Democrats if they thought the state should make a deal with Seminoles. Former Congressman Jim Davis said no. But former City Councilman Bob Buckhorn, said he thinks the state should make a deal.

Earlier this week, House Speaker Marco Rubio and other GOP house leaders sent a letter off to Gov. Crist, telling him the negotiations should strive to "agree to the bare minimum of gambling.”

Rubio has said that any pact must be signed off by the Legislature and Senate President Ken Pruitt.

WMNF was unable to speak with an official with the Indian Affairs Bureau in Washington.

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