Florida House may vote on gambling bill today

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Alex Leary of the St. Petersburg Times <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/997517.html">writes</a> that the Florida House is "poised to pass its gambling package" this afternoon, while the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee debates that chamber’s proposal.

There are a number of differences in the proposals, but most Florida poker players should be pleased even with the House’s more restrictive version, which the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says boosts bet limits to $50, no-limit buy-ins to $1,000 and expands hours to 24 hours a day. The Senate version eliminates all limits on bet sizes and cash game and tournament buy-ins, but only expands hours to 18 (24 on weekends).

Gov. Charlie Crist has said he supports the Senate’s version, so presumably he’ll sign whatever compromise version comes out of negotiations so long as it results in a compact with the Seminole Tribe that gives the state a portion of the revenues. Of course, poker is just a smart part of these bills and the negotiations to come. Aside from the Seminole compact, reduced taxes and more gaming options for pari-mutuels and quarter horse racing may play bigger roles in the talks than poker.