On Easter Sunday, Florida lawmakers gathered to discuss organizing a potential sit-down later in the month concerning the future of gambling legislature in Florida. The talks came in the wake of the expiration of the state’s current gambling deal with the Seminole tribe last Friday.
State Representative Jared Moskowitz commented on the matter, stating that talks with lawmakers have been going on for some time now and all parties involved have yet to reach an agreement. According to Moskowitz, an exact date for the special session had not yet been reached, and out of frustration, likened the status of the talks for a new gambling bill to two individuals who just met on the dating app Tinder. Moskowitz further added:
Before anybody gets too excited or upset on the issue of gaming, I would remind them that for the past five years we have not been able to do anything on this subject.
Democrat Moskowitz has also come under fire recently for his strong opposition against his fellow Dems in the wake of the Parkland high school shooting in Florida, describing their slow actions for stricter gun laws in the state as ‘procedural games’. Despite Moskowitz efforts, gambling remains a very difficult issue facing Florida lawmakers. Florida’s House of Representatives has shown little support for gambling expansion in the past, despite overwhelming public support. The Senate, however, wishes to push forward broader gambling measures that would allow for daily fantasy sports operations, as well as slots, and greyhound and horseracing.
The cost of moving slow
State Representative Joe Geller, a Dem whose district includes Broward county, and the top Democrat for the Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee stated, “It’s obviously a matter of serious concern to our community. I don’t know exactly what the upshot of these recent talks are going to be. We tried to get someplace during the session…. We thought we might be making some progress and it was very abruptly shut down. I think if there’s a good solution that can be found it would be great. I’m not sure how close we are to having one.”
Stance on gambling as profits run dry
When asked for comment, State Senator Bill Galvano confirmed that though there have been discussions regarding the future of gambling in Florida with the Seminole Tribe, no solid ground has been reached. The ineptitude of republican leaders has political analysts less than optimistic about seeing benefits from coming talks. Florida lawmakers fear that if actions are not taken soon, the Seminoles will discontinue their annual payment of $300 million to the state in order to retain exclusive rights to their casino-based table and slots games on Seminole land within the Miami-Dade and Broward areas. The Seminole tribe of Florida started setting up bingo halls and casinos on their lands ever since tribal sovereignty was established, making them immune to the gambling laws set by the U.S. Federal Government.
The future of gambling legislation is not just a hot issue in Florida, but has recently made headlines countrywide with the focus on sports betting and New Jersey. A decision on whether or not to allow sports betting in the Garden State was delayed earlier this week with the next possible date for action pushed to April 17. New Jersey leaders have been demanding the legalization of sports betting for the state due to the benefits of increased revenue, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently challenged the state’s demands to change the law that currently limits sports betting to just four states in the U.S.
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