Top negotiators for the House and Senate and the governor's office are meeting outside the Capitol today to negotiate a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe in the hopes of reaching an accord by next week. But a new issue emerged that appears to be snagging the talks.
The Senate wants to allow the Florida Lottery to let its ticket vendors install instant ticket machines that sell pull tabs. It seemed like a rather innocuous change when it was presented to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee last week. But on further inspection, concerns have been raised that the machines could be converted to look like video lottery and poker games. Since the machines could be located at every Publix store or gas station that sells lottery tickets, it has elicited a big red "NO" from the Seminoles.
Sources close to the talks say it is the last issue of dispute to be resolved and it could blow up negotiations if not settled.
Negotiators working from the undisclosed location include the Rep. Bill Galvano, Sen. Dennis Jones, lawyers from the governor's office and the tribe.
UPDATE: Barry Richard, a lawyer and key negotiator for the Seminoles said, "We don't have a deal yet..But we have not hit an impasse. There are things that have been proposed by either side that have not been acceptable but in every instance so far they have been worked out."
He acknowledged that the issue of allowing state lottery vendors to sell pull tags is a sticking point but not enough to create an impasse. "It’s a matter of finding language that both sides feel comfortable with,'' he said.