Florida Gambling Compact Passes Senate, 29-9

Hooray! The Florida Gambling Compact takes another step to becoming law.

The Seminole Gambling Compact has passed the Florida Senate with only 9 opposing votes from anti-gaming Republicans. Now it needs approval by the state House and the Governor, which are both planned to happen next week.

The Seminoles get blackjack at five of their casinos, including the Coconut Creek casino, which plans for an expansion that will rival the Hollywood Hard Rock.

Broward pari-mutuels will get a tax cut from 50% to 35%. Mardi Gras officials said the tax break will allow them to expand their casino. It will also allow them a larger marketing budget. The tax break should allow Broward and Miami-Dade pari-mutuels the ability to compete with the Seminoles in those areas.

The bill also helps poker rooms around the state. No limit poker will be allowed, which could make Florida the poker capital of the East Coast. Extended hours for all Florida poker rooms will also be allowed in this bill.

Dog tracks and jai-alai’s outside of Broward and Miami-Dade are still in a tough situation even with no limit poker games and expanded poker rooms hours. A bill that would cut their taxes, allowing them to also compete with the Seminoles, was passed by a Senate committee on Tuesday and plans to move forward on the bill are expected to happen soon.

The Gambling Compact also would allow bingo-style slot machines to be added to Florida dog tracks and pari-mutuels, if they don’t look like slot machines. Since no such machines exist, it is unlikely this will have any effect on any Florida facility.

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