Florida House open to free-market gaming proposals

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The Florida House Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review met Monday, and news reports after the meeting suggest there’s a swing in support for wider-scale gaming in Florida now.

Republican lawmakers told Josh Hafenbrack of the <a href="http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/sfl-seminole-gambling-110209,0,1290233.story">South Florida Sun-Sentinel</a> that the proposed Seminole Compact as written has a slim-to-none chance of passing, so instead support for allowing competition to the Seminole casinos is growing.

Among the ideas legislators mentioned: Establishing a gaming commission in the state to develop specific gaming destinations, a "local option" that would allow individual communities to decide whether they want casino gaming in their area and letting parimutuel facilities deal the same games that the tribe does. All of the ideas have a possibility of being dependent on a statewide referendum on gaming. Previous statewide votes have been unsuccessful for gaming.

Lawmakers reviewed a <a href="http://www.floridagamingwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/cp_house_h2010scsicr_2009112_12.pdf">comparison</a> of the Senate Bill 788 and the proposed Seminole Compact before the meeting, and it appears at least a handful are now in agreement with what parimutuel interests have been saying since the proposed compact was released: Let us compete, and the state will earn more money than with a deal that’s limited to Indian casinos.