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5 Big Stories: The Week in Business

A look back at the week's top stories

By Jeff Harrington, Times Deputy Business Editor
Published November 18, 2007


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1. Florida strikes deal to expand Indian gaming

The Seminole Tribe will be allowed to operate now-banned casino card games along with slot machines at seven sites statewide.

WHAT IT MEANS: Under federal pressure to craft an agreement with the tribe, Gov. Charlie Crist winds up with a 25-year pact that ensures the state's cut will be at least $100-million the first year.

2. Bush targets air travel delays

President Bush takes measures to reduce air traffic congestion, including letting commercial airlines use some airspace restricted to military flights.

What it means: The measures are a short-term solution to help travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday amid a record year of delays in the sky.

3. Allstate rate hike rejected

State regulators denied Allstate Corp.'s bid to raise property insurance rates in Florida by about a third.

What it means: One problem: Allstate tried to justify the hikes using a model of exposure to hurricane risk that had not been approved by the state. That doesn't sit well with regulators, who are fuming that insurers should be cutting their rates these days.

4. Medicare gold rush begins

Humana, WellCare and others use lures such as free meals, crooner Frankie Avalon and exercise guru Richard Simmons to entice seniors to sign up for their Medicare Part D programs in St. Petersburg.

What it means: Thursday was the kickoff of open enrollment for Medicare prescription drug programs; for managed-care companies, each coveted enrollee could be worth $800 a month in government reimbursements.

5. Mansions go on the block

Sotheby's holds an auction in Sarasota for luxury homes in the bay area valued at up to $20-million with an unusual twist: no minimum bid required.

What it means: Even the super-rich are showing signs of desperation in today's sluggish housing market.

[Last modified November 16, 2007, 22:50:10]


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