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TALLAHASSEE, FL-The Seminole Tribe has gained two allies in its effort to convince the Florida Legislature that its gambling pact with Gov. Charlie Crist is a good deal. The Florida Restaurant Lodging Association and Florida Retail Federation have jointly endorsed the deal, which promises to pump $288 million into the state budget and create 45,000 jobs.

The tribe promises to expand four casinos to offer Las Vegas-style slot machines and card games in exchange for state ratification of a previous compact signed with Crist in 2007. Expansion plans include $800 million for a new 22-story hotel at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Casino that would become the city’s largest with 1,000 rooms, plus a music hall with up to 2,000 seats.

“The economic benefits from ratifying the Seminole Compact would not be limited to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, but would ripple across all of Florida’s economy,” stated Carol Dover, FRLA president and CEO.

The compact would allow the Seminoles to upgrade to Class III gaming machines at seven casinos in Florida and require the tribe to share revenue with the state government for the first time, in exchange for exclusive statewide rights to blackjack and baccarat. State Attorney General Bill McCollum and the Florida Supreme Court oppose the deal.

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