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Crist: vetoes could follow no deal on gaming

Asked about the possibility of failure in legislative talks over Seminole gaming, etc., Gov. Charlie Crist made much of the fact that he's seeing movement in gambling talks. But if there's failure, watch out.

"If it doesn’t happen, you know, I may have to cut things out of this budget that are put in there. And the members are, I think, acutely cognizant of that. There are important things they want to do around the state. And I want them to be able to do. In some ways the Seminole compact money gives us the opportunity to do those things," Crist said.

A threat?

"Oh no. Not at all," Crist said. "Please don’t characterize it that way. It’s not. It’s just reality."

Well, yes and no. The Seminole and pari-mutuel gaming money is currently slotted to go into savings. Without the cash, the state's savings account would dip to about $1.3b for next budget year. So while Crist argues that the Seminole deal "in some ways" helps fund state government, it's a bit of a stretch.

Crist was even less direct when pressed on his optimism over the negotiations. The House has offered to allow black jack at one Seminole gaming location and at South Florida pari-mutuels by referendum. But if the South Florida gaming facilities get black jack, then the Seminoles can make a more-than-credible case that they're allowed to have black jack wherever.

So why would the Seminoles take the House deal?

"They’re very smart and I don’t think they would sign anything that would not be appropriate and not be in their best interest as well as Florida’s," Crist said. "I don’t want to inject myself into the House and Senate negotiation. I think there’s room for some more movement."

Talks resume Monday.

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