House approves proposed Seminole gambling deal

Slot machines could now be added to dog and horse tracks in Florida.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Though it remains unclear whether a deal can be reached with the Senate, the House on Monday approved a gambling bill that includes ratifying a long-term deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

House members voted 70-40 to approve the bill (HB 7067), sponsored by Tourism & Gaming Control Chairman Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud.

The bill would lead to the Seminole Tribe paying $3 billion to the state over seven years.

In exchange, the tribe would have exclusive rights to conduct banked card games, such as blackjack, at five of its casinos.

Also, the tribe would continue to have exclusive authority to offer slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and pari-mutuel facilities would be barred from offering lucrative “designated player” card games.

A Senate version (SB 840) has moved through committees, though it includes key differences from the House bill.

The annual legislative session is scheduled to end Friday.