For the past five years, the Florida legislature has been considering expanding legalized gambling in the state. Over the years, little progress has been made on the issue due to resistance by a few members of the legislature.
As a result, discussions around the issue have been going on in the New Year in between the Florida State and Senate Houses. According to the details in news article that was recently published in CalvinAyre.com, it seems things might go a little differently this year. Senate President Bill Galvano seems optimistic that they are making progress.
However, he cautioned the residents of the state of Florida against getting too excited as it is still too early to say that a tangible deal has been reached. In fact, the notions in his statement seemed to lean on the side negative side. Which is to say, things are more likely not to go as most people would expect.
The discussions have been going on in the absence of the Seminole Tribe, which is against a clause of the deal that has been proposed so far. Senator Galvano, House Speaker Jose Oliva, Senator Travis Hutson and Representative Mike LaRosa have been holding meetings to discuss a new gaming bill.
According to Senator Hutson, his take is that the discussions bore fruit last spring when the Seminole Tribe solidified the plan. Though nothing was put on paper, the Senator felt that they had come along way and were closer to reaching a conclusion.
Last year, Senator Simpson and Senator Hutson agreed with the Seminole Tribe on a proposition that would legalize sports betting in casinos, horse and dog tracks. The new sports betting sites would be owned or operated by the Seminole Tribe. However, Ron DeSantos, who had just been elected as the governor of Florida, was against the idea. With time, he seems to soften to the idea and is even supporting it. By including the Seminole Tribe in the deal, the legislation would be upholding the constitution amendment that was passed in 2018. The amendment authorized casino-style gambling but did not include tribal property.
The bone of contention in the deal seems to be the card games that are being offered in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Slot machines are not authorized in this counties, though the designated player games have become a major source of revenue as well as employment in the counties.
This has caused the Seminole Tribe to move to court claiming that the 2010 agreement between the state and the tribe allows for the tribe to exclusively offer card games in the state. Allowing other gaming operators to offer card games is a violation of this agreement. The federal judge rules in their favor, though the case is still under appeal. The tribe has vowed not to attend as of the proceedings until the issue is resolved or at least the court bans the designated palyers from continuing to operate.