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The power to expand gambling, including slot machines, belongs exclusively to Florida lawmakers, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled last week, signaling an end to efforts by Lee and other counties to expand gambling and slot machine games through local voter referenda.

Photos: State Library & Archives of Florida

What motivated early Floridians to move into the swampy, mosquito-infested area of South Florida? How did the Seminoles and other Native American peoples thrive in such a demanding environment? Questions from Curious Gulf Coast listeners spurred a look at life in Florida before modern conveniences.

Topher Forhecz/WGCU

The Seminole Tribe is trying to stop the possible construction of a power plant next to the Big Cypress Indian Reservation.

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Democrats in the legislature are saying if they're not at the negotiating table, they will vote against any gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe.

The so-called compact, which gives the tribe exclusive rights to blackjack at their casinos in return for big payments to the state , is now up for review. The exclusivity means that building big resort casinos in South Florida - or even allowing expanded gambling at pari-mutuels - would be off the table.

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The contract with the tribe mean exclusive rights for the Seminoles to blackjack at their casinos in return for at least a quarter billion dollars a year to the state. Ending the tribe's exclusivity would mean the loss of that revenue…and that's been the primary barrier to approving resort casinos in South Florida and to expanding gambling opportunities for the state's restless pari-mutuel operators.