Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to prevent expanded gambling in Florida by renewing the existing gambling compact with the Seminole tribe. The compact provides exclusive rights to certain gambling games to the Seminoles in exchange for specified revenue to the state. Outside gambling interests have been maneuvering to build and operate full scale Vegas-style casinos in Florida for some time, but the compact has kept them at bay. The compact is up for renewal and a bill has been introduced in the Florida Legislature to extend the compact. However, as pointed out by the St. Peters Blog, Amendments were added that would attempt to expand gambling in a more unique way than the bill intended:
The Compact is a gambling revenue-sharing deal, with a significant portion set to expire July 31. Bradley proposed allowing the Seminole Tribe of Florida to continue offering banked card games, such as blackjack and baccarat, until July 2016, allowing for negotiations for a new deal.
State Sen. *Maria Sachs* convinced committee members to include her proposal, which lifts the requirement for dog tracks to schedule a minimum number of races to keep what state Sen. *Kelli Stargel* called “mini-casinos.”
State Sen. *Joe Abruzzo* supported the final bill because he favors greyhound decoupling, saying the sport has lost its audience and people of his generation would not be attending dog races after retirement.
The idea of allowing greyhound operators to keep gambling while eliminating the greyhound races is puzzling for sure. This is a blatant attempt to expand gambling in the face of a dying industry. The St Peters Blog explains the obvious rational of the opposition:
[Sen.] Stargel, in opposition, said if tracks no longer wanted to offer racing, return their racing licenses to the state and give others a chance with the sport.
“Decoupling is a similar issue to bowling alleys,” she said. “We allow them to have a liquor license and now they want to get rid of bowling and be bars.
“The same thing with the dog tracks. A dog track license allows them to do card rooms and now they want to get rid of dog tracks and have a mini casino.”
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