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House gaming legislation to be workshopped March 26

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Reports of the death of Dana Young‘s new gaming legislation are greatly exaggerated, according to the House Majority Leader — despite speculation that she may alter or even withdraw her ambitious plan from consideration, Young tells SaintPetersBlog that her proposal will be workshopped at a meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, March 26.

Young’s plan — consisting of three linked House bills, HB 1233, HB 1235 and HB 1237 —   has been labeled by opponents as a straight expansion of gambling, though the proposed changes wouldn’t necessarily generate more gambling at more casinos on its own.   

Anti-gambling group No Casinos President John Sowinski called the bill “the biggest expansion of gambling in Florida history,” setting the stage for “wall-to-wall” casino gambling in Florida

Young has, incidentally, said exactly the opposite, telling reporters at a pre-session press conference that it provides for an “unprecedented contraction.”

In any case, we’ll know more about who stands where within Leader Young’s caucus when the (likely) House Regulatory Affairs Committee meets on the 26th.

Committee Chairman state Rep. Jose “Pepi” Diaz is seen as even-handed regarding gaming, and the outcome for Young’s bills — opposed by groups backing a seemingly unlikely renewal of the Seminole Indian compact — once they come to a vote is still very much in doubt.

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Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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