Now chairman, Sen. Garrett Richter says gambling committee will move deliberately

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The head of a new committee in the Senate set to focus on gaming issues says he expects the panel to conduct a thorough study of gambling in Florida instead of moving quickly, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.

Sen. Garrett Richter, a Naples Republican who also serves as president pro tempore, said Wednesday that he viewed the recent redistricting process, which included several summer hearings across the state in 2011, as a potential model for the Senate Gaming Committee.

“It would be very appropriate to try to take a comprehensive look at gaming for the state of Florida,” Richter said. He added that the committee’s work would probably be “a very deliberate process over the next couple of years.”

That approach would seem to square with suggestions by Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, that the Legislature might take time to study a tangle of issues around gambling before tackling it.

There are issues surrounding pari-mutuel facilities, whether to allow huge destination casinos in South Florida, and how any expansion of gambling might interact with the compact the state has signed with the Seminoles.

“I do not see the committee coming up with a knee-jerk response to gambling,” Richter said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.