Florida Representative Seeks to Update Gaming Laws

FloridaSenateSealIn the state of Florida, the gambling industry has been a mix of regulations and laws that created an uncertain environment for lawmakers and operators in the industry. Representative Dana Young, has introduced a new legislation package that would completely change the gaming landscape within the state of Florida. The House Republican Leader is hoping the update, if passed, would allow everyone in the state to happily offer and enjoy gambling activities.

In the package, the bill would add two destination resort casinos in the South Florida area. Top gaming operators have been trying to see this take place for some time now, with the only current option being casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe. If passed, new operators would be allowed to operate the new casinos but would have to buy gaming permits from active operators to get started.

South Florida pari-mutuel operators would also benefit from the new bill which will allow dog tracks to operate slot gaming, even if the races cease. Casinos would also see a reduction in tax rates based on the new bill.

To oversee the gambling industry of the state, a new gambling commission would be created. An additional portion of the bill asks to add an amendment to the constitution which would prohibit any new form of gambling unless the residents of the state vote to approve any additions with a statewide referendum.

In a news conference discussing the new bill, Young stated that under the scenario she presents in her bill, the state would be taking back control of the existing gaming and provide a clear blueprint for the path to be taken in the future. The bill will provide ‘for an unprecedented contraction of gaming in the state’.

Young has not included any provisions that cover the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which have a compact with the state that will expire on the 31st of July this year. The Seminoles currently operate the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as well as other venues within the state. The tribe pays more than $200 million each year to have exclusive rights to the game of blackjack within the state’s borders.

According to Young, she is open to discussing with the tribe how they would fit in to the ‘larger picture’ but as there is no agreement at this time, they are not included in the bill she has presented.

 

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