Senate gambling approval could lead to talks


The Senate on Wednesday voted 22-10 to approve a measure that seeks to expand a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, while also allowing slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities in counties where voters have approved referendums.

The Senate also moved to request the House concur with the Senate proposal and, if the House refuses, to appoint a conference committee to formally negotiate on the issue.

Passage of a major gambling bill remains a long shot in the final days of the annual legislative session.

Senate Regulated Industries Chairman Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, said the House and Senate proposals both seek $3 billion from the Seminoles over the first seven years of a gambling agreement known as a compact.

The Senate proposes a compact of 22 years, two more than in the House version.

The Senate measure includes numerous provisions, including allowing tribal casinos to offer craps and roulette, making clear that fantasy sports are not gambling under Florida law and lowering slot-machine tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent.


The House proposal (HB 7067) would allow the tribe to conduct banked-card games, such as blackjack, at five of its seven facilities, but it doesn’t include such things as allowing slot machines at referendum counties.