Senate advances new gaming laws


With or with out an settlement with the Seminole Tribe, the Legislature is shifting ahead to determine a gaming framework within the state.

Whereas talks with the Tribe are ongoing, the Senate has put forth laws that will tie up different unfastened ends within the state’s gaming business.

The Senate Committee on Regulated Industries heard three new gaming payments Monday. All three had been accredited by the committee.

Two of the payments would set up a gaming fee, and the third removes the reside racing requirement for parimutel allow holders.

SPB 7076 would set up the Florida Gaming Management Fee inside the Workplace of the Legal professional Common. The five-member committee would have regulation enforcement authority over gaming legal guidelines.

SB 7078 offers with public data to maintain particulars of the Gaming Management Fee’s prison investigations out of the general public eye.

SB 7080 removes components of a regulation governing parimutuel allow holders, together with jai alai, harness, and quarter horse racing. Present Florida regulation requires a sure degree of reside racing or competitors for parimutual wagering to happen.

Underneath the invoice, decoupling could be allowed, so race tracks might nonetheless permit gaming like slot machines even when no reside racing is taken place.

However some included within the decoupling aren’t completely happy.

Harness racing is included within the invoice’s decoupling. The race monitor that holds the state’s sole harness racing allow may benefit from the choice to decouple, however a consultant from the Florida Standardbred Breeders and House owners Affiliation mentioned the individuals concerned in elevating, caring and racing the horses could be harmed.

“If the on line casino that holds this sole harness racing allow is allowed to decouple, the complete business could be left with nowhere to go within the state. It could finally value these households the one livelihood most of them have ever recognized. These households have been by way of a curler coaster of feelings on whether or not their lifestyle will proceed and whether or not their business will survive,” Lauren Jackson, a lobbyist representing the affiliation.

Thoroughbred racing is particularly unnoticed of the decoupling, which Committee Chair Travis Hutson, who offered the laws, mentioned was determined after consulting with the thoroughbred racing business.

Stephen Screnci, President of the Florida Horseman’s Protecting and Benevolence Affiliation, which represents 6,000 members who’re predominantly horse homeowners and a few horse trainers, spoke on the assembly. Screnci mentioned the group is in favor of the invoice however the decoupling of different parimutel allow holders places thoroughbred racing at a drawback.

“At present we rely an excellent deal on the purse, and a portion of that purse comes from the slots income. Seeing any additional lower, I imagine, will inevitably lead to much less race days, and a smaller business as a complete, in Florida,” Screnci mentioned.

Screnchi steered a tax discount for allow holders who selected to not decouple.

However after the assembly Hutson spoke in regards to the subject.

“The thoroughbreds say they don’t need to decouple, they usually’re going to remain coupled,” Hutson mentioned. “Effectively, that’s a alternative they’re making. So, if they need us to decouple them, we will simply decouple them, they usually can proceed to race. However when you hear their testimony, it’s virtually like they need their cake and eat it too.”

Hutson mentioned he expects companion laws within the Home to be unveiled this week within the Commerce Committee.

Hutson mentioned the payments don’t require an settlement with the Seminole Tribe, which issues as a result of the Legislature and two governors have nonetheless been unable to agree on a brand new take care of the Tribe since components of a 2010 compact expired in 2015. Former Gov. Rick Scott labored out one revised compact in 2015, however the Legislature by no means ratified it. The Tribe has since stopped making funds to the state on a contract value about $240 million per 12 months.

Gov. Ron DeSantis remains to be negotiating.

“Because it stands at the moment, the Governor is making an attempt to finalize negotiations with all stakeholders,” Hutson mentioned.

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