Crist signs Seminole gaming deal

Gov. Charlie Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist

Seminole Casino Immokalee

506 South First Street, Immokalee, FL

— Capping off years of effort, Gov. Charlie Crist Wednesday signed into law a measure that expands Seminole gambling in exchange for $1.2 billion over the next five years.

Crist, whose first deal with the tribe in 2007 was thrown out by the courts, said the effort will allow lawmakers to immediately spend $250 million and reap the benefits of the historic gambling deal that allows the tribe to keep games at its Immokalee facility and expands gaming at non-Indian pari-mutuels around the state.

“Today’s bill signing is the last step in a historic effort that benefits both the Seminole Tribe and the entire state of Florida. Following three years of healthy debate and deliberation, the children and families of Florida are now the beneficiaries of much-needed money that will be used to fund critical needs such as education,” Crist said in a statement.

Local lawmakers could not immediately be reached for comment. Wednesday marked the deadline by which time Crist had to sign the bill, veto it, or let it become law.

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