Bill to Prevent Gambling Expansion in Florida Sails Through House

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House bill, HB 7037, would authorize Florida Governor Rick Scott to renew the existing compact between the Seminoles and thus prevent any further casino expansion in the state passed a key House committee Tuesday by an 11-7 vote.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

(But) instead of leaving the revenue sharing where it is, the House increases the minimum guarantee from about $250 million a year to at least $325 million in exchange for exclusive operation of blackjack in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and slot machines at its casinos outside of South Florida.

For the first time, the House also directs the Legislature to put the money into three specific education programs aimed at retaining and recruiting teachers, helping children in failing schools and enhancing higher education.

Additionally the bill will close loopholes that would otherwise have allowed player-banked card games to run in poker rooms and reduces dormant pari-mutuel permits. 

The future of the bill remains uncertain however as Democrats continue to oppose it and there seems little effort to compromise at this time.

The Democrats want to give horse and dog track that must compete with the tribe more gaming options.

- Aaron Goldstein,

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