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Senate offer: no craps and roulette, referendums on blackjack

The Senate gambling negotiators made a beefy offer to its House counterparts late Wednesday:

* No more craps and roulette for the Seminole Tribe, as had been the offer in its original bill.

* Only limited gambling for Brighton, Immokalee and Big Cypress facilities -- with a definition as to what that means to come.

* $500 million in upfront cash for the first year; with the revenue declining to $400 million minimum in the second year and $250 million minimum for the remaining 23 years.

* Broward and Miami-Dade parimutuels could seek a voter referendum to get black jack at their cardrooms and pay $25 million to operate the games.

* Parimutuels outside of Miami-Dade and Broward could get slot machines if they get a county referendum and pay a $3 million license fee. If they don't seek slot machines, they can obtain a historic racing games.

* Gambling age is raised to 21.

"It's seems you have made a good faith start to our negotiation,'' said Rep. Bill Galvano, the lead House negotiator. "I understand the general direction which you're going.''

He said that the authorization of slot machines "jumped out at me'' as something that will be an issue for the House but the notion that voters could have a say through a referendum was a good idea.

"Referendums on tough issues are always more palatable. That's just a given,'' he said. "You can always say you're shifting a decision to voters.'

Galvano noted that the Seminoles may have trouble accepting some of the provisions in the offer, however.

"That's what makes this issue so difficult,'' he said. "Whatever we agree to is nothing more than an agreement to agree. Until we get the third party agreed, then it's not enforceable.''