New Florida Gambling Bills Look to Overhaul the System and Allow for More Casinos

Casino Watch Focus recently reported  that a new drove of lobbyists have come to Florida to ensure gambling expansion by way of new designation resort casinos. The mod has shifted as a result and now a Florida Senate Bill looks to allow two new Vegas style casinos directly while the House version of the bill would allow Gov Scott to authorize expanded casinos.  The Miami Herald Reports:

The Florida House weighed into the gambling debate on Monday and proposed a bill that won’t authorize new casinos but will overhaul the state’s gambling laws, putting all regulation of race tracks, slot machines and poker rooms under a Gaming Control Commission, similar to those in Nevada, New Jersey and other large gaming states.

Unlike a similar Senate plan, which overhauls regulation and authorizes new casino resorts in Miami Dade and Broward counties, the House plan leaves the decision to introduce mega-casinos to Florida to Gov. Rick Scott.

The governor can approve or reject the casinos when he negotiates a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The governor has until July 2015 to re-negotiate a portion of the 20-year gaming compact that applies to the tribe’s exclusive right to operate table games such as black jack, chemin de fer and baccarat at its South Florida casinos.

The bills also offer the guise of protection against future gambling expansion, but only in so much as the public would have to directly vote for any new expansion that isn’t passed into legislation this year.  The Miami Herald continues:

The House also drafted a constitutional amendment that would require voters to approve any expansion of gambling that does not get approved by legislators this year. The measure could close the door to any future expansion of gambling in the state because 60 percent of voters statewide would have to approve of any new venture. That condition offers a measure of economic security to those in business now, and attempts to win the support of gambling opponents who see it as a permanent limit on expanded gambling.

The Senate has also proposed a constitutional amendment that give voters the authority to restrict future games, but the House proposal is more restrictive.

The bills also look to create a type of gambling commission to oversee Florida’s gambling activities.  The Herald explains:

The major thrust of the House proposal, HB 1383, follows the initiative announced last week by the Florida Senate to revamp the way gambling is regulated in Florida.

The primary House bill, which was filed by Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, the head of the House Gaming Committee, creates a Gaming Control Commission that would regulate all gaming in the state except the lottery. It is similar to the Senate plan to create a state Gaming Control Board.

Unlike the Senate gaming board, which includes five members appointed by the governor, the House gaming commission would be comprised of five members appointed by the governor from a list of candidates chosen by a legislatively-controlled nominated commission.

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