Fla. Senate looks into expanding gambling - FOX 35 News Orlando

Fla. Senate looks into expanding gambling

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Momentum is building to expand gambling in Florida after a key committee chairman gave his approval Monday.

State Senator Garrett Richter, R-Naples, says it is time to consider putting out destination casinos to the highest bidder.

"A destination resort in Miami would be a good thing for the state of Florida. I think it would attract new revenue dollars, 'euro dollars' and everything else."

Richter says Broward County could also be a landing spot for a destination casino, along with or in addition to Miami. Richter has no interest in trying to get a bill passed that would allow casinos in Central Florida.

"I think that there's not a chance that this committee or this Legislature wants to consider a bill that would provide for unlimited casinos statewide."

The Florida Legislature has a lot to decide in regards to gambling in this state. The entire push is being brought about because the state's compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe to be the exclusive holder of slot machines expires next year.

The Senate Committee on Gaming is considering taking any gambling expansion to the voters. They also talked about setting up a Gaming Commission to oversee gambling in the state of Florida.  State Senator Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, wants to make sure that agency has no power to expand gaming.  He's been a vocal opponent.

"Lets say you do take something to the voters, the voters approve it. I want to make sure that we are all on the same page that that doesn't just open the door to whatever this commission would say, 'Well this form of gaming, we're going to allow it.' The Legislature should be the one that would approve it."

The Legislature is also considering whether or not to decouple racing with card rooms. Currently, only places that have dog racing, horse racing or jai alai are allowed to operate card rooms where poker is played.

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