Florida Legislature to Face Tough Negotiations at Today’s Gambling Conference

The Florida Senate is to put a start to the new gambling legislation negotiations between the members of the House and the Senate on Thursday. The conference is set to kick off at 4 PM today. Six state senators and six state representatives are reportedly to be present at the gambling legislation conference, with the presence of state Senator Bill Galvano, Representative of Branderton, confirmed.

It is exactly Galvano who is the conference chairman, considering the fact he is well-seasoned in the matters of gambling legislation. However, it is not exactly clear what would the Senate offer at the conference.

Earlier over the current session of the state’s legislature, there were bills passed by both the Senate and the House of the state of Florida. However, the new pieces of gambling legislation were quite different, which caused the negotiations to vary, too.

As reported by CND earlier in April, both conflicting gambling bills reached Florida legislature.

At the beginning of the month, the House Bill managed to pass the Florida House and joined a piece of legislation proposed by the Senate in the Florida Legislature. It was back then when the local lawmakers were aware of the fact that an agreement would not be easily reached, as the proposals made by the two bills were diametrically opposed to each other.

The Senate Bill

Under the provisions of the Senate bill, the local Seminole Tribe would be given the exclusive right to provide its casino players with the games of craps and roulette. What is more, the proposed bill would also allow to pari-mutuels in the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward to offer blackjack to their customers.

What is more, pari-mutuel operators in the state of Florida would be given the right to offer slots machines in case that they get the approval of the county voters. Up to date, a total of eight counties except for Miami-Dade and Broward, have given their approval to slot machines.

Another proposal made in the Senate Bill is also in terms of pari-mutuels, allowing them to stop animals races and start operating as regular casinos.

The House Bill

As mentioned above, the House Bill is quite different from the Senate piece. As a matter of fact, none of the provisions listed above are included in the House Bill, which is exactly why the state lawmakers are expected to found themselves very hard to reach an agreement over the negotiations at the conference.

As far as pari-mutuel operators in the state are concerned, the House piece of gambling legislation states that the agreement between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe would be violated in case that pari-mutuels are allowed to stop animal races. On the other hand, a new agreement with the Seminole Tribe is quite necessary to date, as the tribe has been granted with the right to offer blackjack under the original deal with the state from 2010, which has already expired and the tribe currently offers the game of blackjack in its casinos under the permission of a court order.

However, the Seminole Tribe has protested against both the Senate and House versions of the gambling legislation. The Tribe backs the roulette and craps offering under the Senate Bill, but it does not support the increased competition which would be created under the bill. On the other hand, it has also protested against the increased taxes that it would be forced to pay to the state under the House Bill despite the new games permission it would get in return.

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