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Rob Bradley calls for one-year extension of Seminole Compact

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State Sen. Rob Bradley wants to extend the gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The Fleming Island Republican, who chairs the influential Senate Committee on Regulated Industries, filed notice Friday that his committee will consider a one-year extension of the current Seminole Compact. Authorization for the Tribe to offer banked card games expires on July 31, if the Legislature fails to act.

If not renewed, the Tribe could lose exclusive rights to operate blackjack and other card games at five of its seven Florida casinos outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Gambling revenue from the Compact provides approximately $234 million a year in revenue to the state, nearly $1 billion since 2009. Seminole officials say the Compact brings nearly 20,000 jobs statewide, as well as stability in gaming throughout the state.

“Gaming is a complex issue with many stakeholders who have diverse viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, Bradley said. “An extension of the current compact is a common-sense solution to the time-sensitive environment in which we find ourselves.

“This approach allows the tribe to maintain the jobs associated with their current operations and the state to continue to receive revenue which can be used to advance our budget priorities.”

Bradley added that an extension would provide more time for all parties to continue the dialogue on the future of gaming in Florida, and “ensure we find the right policy rather than the quick answer.”

An extension of the compact would help bridge the budget gap between Senate’s push for health insurance expansion to cover low-income Floridians, and the House, which opposes the idea.

The Seminole money may not be the answer, but every extra dollar would help.

“Providing more time for all parties to continue this important discussion about the future of gaming in our state will ensure we find the right policy rather than the quick answer,” Bradley said.

Regulated Industries is set to meet next week.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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