State rep drafts bill to help parimutuels

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Florida House Rep. Ron Saunders (D-Key West), who previously proposed splitting the poker and slot tax reduction pieces of Senate Bill 788 from the Seminole Compact that’s stalling it, has finished his bill, but is awaiting word on an official December special session in order to introduce it.

<a href="http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/10/saunders-drafts-parimutuel-bill-and-hopes-for-special-session.html">The St. Petersburg Times</a> reports that Saunders wants the parimutuel industry to be able to immediately begin capital improvements that would like come when the tax on slot machines drops from 50 percent to 35 and virtually all restrictions on poker in the state are lifted.

While these two items are ones that the Legislature, parimutel industry, governor and Seminole Tribe agree on, Ante Up’s Tallahassee sources say the bill is unlikely to pass, and as Nick Sortal of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel <a href="http://blogs.trb.com/entertainment/news/gambling/blog/2009/10/why_we_still_dont_have_nolimit.html">reported</a> on Oct. 27, Gov. Charlie Crist has no interest in dividing the bill, so a veto would almost certainly follow if the bill does pass.