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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — For the time being, the Seminole Tribe of Florida plans to continue to allow blackjack and other card games at their casinos even after their five-year compact with the state ends.
On Monday Ken Lawson, the state’s top gambling regulator, sent a letter to the tribe chairman asking when they plan to halt their table games. Lawson noted the existing compact requires the tribe to close its blackjack tables within 90 days.
The letter requests that tribe Chairman James Billie meet with state officials to discuss the tribe’s plans.
The move is probably a prelude to a court battle.
The Seminoles have said they can keep the card games because Florida regulators violated the gambling agreement. A tribe spokesman said the Seminoles plan to keep the card games while following a dispute resolution process outlined in federal law.
In a letter to the state, the tribe asks for mediation to offer banked card games for the remainder of the compact which expires in 2030 and expand the locations at which it is permitted to offer banked card games.
Steve Bourie who wrote the American Casino Guide points out that the dispute could end up in federal court and legal limbo.
“It would be a blow to the tribe but they would still have 65 percent of their revenue from the machines,” said Bourie. “This is a federal issue so nothing will be done. It is a long, drawn out process and there is nothing the state can do to shutdown blackjack so everything will continue as usual.”
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