Gov. Crist signs gaming bill

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Gov. Charlie Crist today signed Senate Bill 788, which authorizes him to negotiate a new compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. If the compact is approved by the Legislature and Bureau of Indian Affairs, it will also mean stripping most restrictions on poker in the Florida, including bet and buy-in limits.

“I am grateful to the Florida Legislature and the Seminole Tribe of Florida for their desire to provide much-needed funds for the children of our state,” Crist said in a statement. “A ratified agreement will provide much needed revenue that can help us develop world-class schools throughout the Sunshine State.”

The governor and Seminole Tribe have until Aug. 31 to reach a compact agreement. Last week, Seminole tribe attorney Barry Richard said the tribe was unlikely to sign a compact with the terms included in the bill. It remains to be seen whether the changes the tribe will seek will be acceptable to the Legislature.