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Crist quietly signs gambling bill in office ceremony

In a rare opportunity to avoid the spotlight, Gov. Charlie Crist quietly signed the SB 622 today, which ratifies the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe and gives South Florida parimutuels a 15 percent tax reduction.

Joining him in his office for the signing ceremony were Rep. Bill Galvano, the House'c chief negotiator and Sen. Dennis Jones, the Senate's gambling lead. Crist will do a ceremonial signing of the bill with the tribe next week, said Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey.

Here's Crist's statement:

 “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.

“With this signing, Florida has the immediate use of $250 million, already on hand, and makes way for even more revenue to meet the needs of our state for decades to come – a total of $1.2 billion during the first five years. 

“I want to thank Senator Dennis Jones and Chairman Bill Galvano for helping secure a favorable compact for the Sunshine State. The compact’s approval is an example of elevating problem-solving over ideology.”