Florida Lawmakers Struggling to Agree on Gambling Expansion Details

Legislators in the Florida House and Senate continue to struggle to reach an agreement that would see gambling expanded in the state. There is potential for hundreds of millions of dollars to be earned, but so far, legislation has been unable to move forward. Governor Ron DeSantis is hopeful that a deal will be reached before the current session comes to an end.

Cancelled Meetings

This week, the House Gaming Control Subcommittee was supposed to meet to discuss potential gambling options for the state, but the meeting was cancelled. This is a strong indicator that problems are afoot as both chambers try to come up with a way to reform gambling in the state.

On top of lawmakers, there is the Seminole Tribe of Florida to consider. They have not been part of the discussions and they have somewhat of a say so as to what type of gambling is allowed in the state. The tribe operates several casinos and has a huge influence, both politically and business-wise.

When the 2019 legislative session came to an end, the Seminoles decided to negate a revenue sharing agreement with the state that had been signed ten years prior. If a deal had been agreed to, the tribe would have continued to provide as much as $330 million to the state.

Tribal Negotiations

The tribe agreed to a deal last year with Senator Wilton Simpson, but the Governor did not approve it and refused to sign the proposal. The Governor said he received the proposal too late and was unable to review it properly.  He said there was no way he was going to sign a 30 year deal in just 48 hours.

The Seminoles would like the state to agree to expand their exclusivity of casino games beyond the scope of blackjack. They want to be able to be the only providers of other card games as well. Lawmakers are not too keen on this idea and want to err with caution.

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