New deal? Florida legislators will try to pass gambling bill

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Top Republicans in the Florida Legislature are trying again this year to pass a major gambling bill.

A House panel on Tuesday voted for a bill that calls for a 20-year deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The agreement calls for the tribe to pay the state $3 billion over the next seven years and it would allow tribal casinos to keep their blackjack tables.

Past efforts to pass a gambling bill have fallen apart amid squabbles among different business and gambling interests in the state. There is a renewed interest in passing a bill this year because a constitutional amendment on casinos will go before voters this fall.

Another reason for the bill is that it would help ease Florida's budget problems.