Florida Gambling Expansion Bill Passes Senate Vote
By Bob Garcia
The Florida Senate has given their resounding approval to a massive gambling expansion bill, though odds are against the bill going any further. The bill passed the full senate vote 32 – 6 on Thursday, while an opposing piece of legislation made it onto the House floor.
The full Senate approval is notable as the first time a piece of gambling legislation has advanced this far in Florida since 2010. Unfortunately this is where the road ends for SB8. Now the negotiations begin.
More than just a back-and-forth between the Florida House and Senate, the negotiations primarily concern the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The biggest question of legislation, no matter which legislative cabinet it comes from, is if it can meet the needs of the Seminole Tribe and secure their continued revenue shares.
In passing SB8 Florida Senators were aware that the bill would not be approved by the Seminole. Representatives from the tribe disagreed with the legislation before it passed and would not move forward with a compact agreement. Changes will need to be made if Florida wants to win with the Seminole.
The House bill is not much better. While it renews some of the exclusive rights that belonged to the Seminole tribe before the previous compact expired, it offers little in exchange for increased payments.
The situation in Florida is one in which gambling legislation is advancing, but only towards brick walls. If lawmakers are really ready to compromise the walls supporting designated player games and slot machines will have to be picked apart.