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As Dana Young pushes reworked House gaming plan, Senators file amendments

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When House Majority Leader Dana Young of Tampa filed her new, somewhat less provocative House gambling proposal, a careful observer could already hear the gears turning in the Senate.

Though Young originally called her sprawling original plan merely a “work in progress,” it ruffled more than a few feather upon its release.

The anti-gambling group No Casinos immediately came out with a statement trashing the plan, saying it provided for “the biggest expansion of gambling in the history of Florida,” with all “the social costs and crime that go with it.”

Amid whispers of the Seminole tribe continuing to deal blackjack and other statutorily exclusive table games with or without a new compact with the state of Florida, there may be a renewed impetus for the passage of a comprehensive plan.

In the meantime, lawmakers in the upper chamber are busy at work retooling their own gaming measure, SB 7088 , a committee bill sponsored by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, which chaired by Orange Park Sen. Rob Bradley.

Palm Beach Democratic Sen. Joe Abruzzo filed an amendment Tuesday that would expand slot machine permits in certain jurisdictions as well as subsidize quarter horse racing in Young’s backyard Tampa Bay Downs track.

Another Democrat with crucial South Florida gaming interests in her district, Sen. Maria Sachs, filed an amendment to the omnibus bill to tie so-called pari-mutuel decoupling – by which permits to deal card games and run greyhound races would be disassociated – to the extension of the pivotal Seminole compact.

The operative Senate bill will be taken up Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Young’s new proposal will be heard on Thursday, April 9 in House Regulatory Affairs.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to 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

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