Florida gaming expansion faces hurdle

A deal to allow Las Vegas-style gambling on tribal lands in Florida could face a major obstacle: the state Legislature. Governor Charlie Crist said he would likely submit any agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to lawmakers for approval, although there are “mixed interpretations” about whether he must.

Crist’s office and the tribe are discussing plans to allow Las Vegas-style slot machines and table games such as blackjack and roulette at Seminole-controlled casinos and give the state a cut of the profits.

But such a deal would run into opposition in the Legislature. House Speaker Marco Rubio, a gambling critic, has already asked Florida’s attorney general if the state is required by federal law to give the tribe games banned by Florida law.

Senator Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican who supports more gaming at existing facilities, predicted any compact would die in the House because Rubio wields so much power as speaker.