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Jose Felix Diaz: ‘We were too far apart’ from Senate on gambling

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State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, the House’s point man on gambling, said an impossibility of compromise over slot machines killed the 2017 gambling bill. “We were too far apart and the Senate wanted to bring it in for a landing during budget conference, and we were not going to be able to do that,” he told reporters after Tuesday’s House floor session. “The timing was off.” The sticking point was an offer to expand slot machines to pari-mutuels in counties…

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Lawyer: Seminole Tribe ‘will react accordingly’ to gambling bill’s death

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The Seminole Tribe of Florida “will react accordingly” to the demise of a gambling bill this Legislative Session, the Tribe’s top outside lawyer said Tuesday. Chief negotiators for the House and Senate said earlier Tuesday they wouldn’t resolve their differences over the legislation before the scheduled end of the 2017 Legislative Session on Friday. When asked whether the Tribe plans to stop paying the state, attorney Barry Richard of the Greenberg Traurig law firm said, “I can’t answer that question,” adding such a decision requires…

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RIP: Gambling bill dead for 2017

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A deal on omnibus gambling legislation for the year went down the drain Tuesday as House and Senate negotiators couldn’t see eye to eye on whether to expand slot machines in the state. Chief negotiators Bill Galvano for the Senate and Jose Felix Diaz in the House confirmed they were at loggerheads and wouldn’t resolve their differences before the scheduled end of the 2017 Legislative Session on Friday. Failure was in some sense predestined, with the Senate’s desire to allow some…

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Joe Negron: Lawmakers ‘getting close’ to agreement on gambling

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Senate President Joe Negron on Monday said lawmakers are “getting close” to a deal on a gambling overhaul bill for the year. The same day, however, a House Democrat who’s on the Conference Committee on Gaming tweeted “Nope” about the same thing. Negron was asked about the legislation during a media availability after the day’s floor session. Lobbyists close to the negotiations said the House wouldn’t broker a gambling deal unless senators passed its favored homestead exemption increase, which won approval in…

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House links homestead exemption increase to Senate priorities

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The fate of this year’s gambling bill is being held hostage to passage of a homestead exemption increase, sources told FloridaPolitics.com Sunday night. Publicly, lawmakers have been saying that progress on omnibus gambling legislation was taking a backseat to the 2017-18 state budget talks. The Conference Committee on Gaming hasn’t met since last Thursday. The Senate is largely for some expansion of gambling in the state; the House wants to hold the line. Behind the scenes, however, House leadership made the decision to…

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Mike Fernandez: If gambling in South Florida passes without referendum, ‘the wrath of the community you will feel’

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Mike Fernandez is expressing his disappointment in the House and Senate’s decision to “advance and dump” casino expansion efforts on South Florida. In an email to Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz on Thursday, Fernandez criticized the decision to move forward with a proposal that would bring another to South Florida. The provision was part of the latest offer from the Senate as part of ongoing negotiations to strike a compromise on gambling legislation. The Senate on Thursday…

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Play on? Legislators may approve fantasy sports

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Florida legislators may reach a deal this year on the murky legal status of fantasy sports in the state. House and Senate Republicans negotiating a comprehensive gambling bill that focuses primarily on casino gambling are including in the legislation proposals regarding fantasy sports. Senate negotiators on Thursday offered their support for a House bill that says betting on fantasy contests would be allowed as long as the sponsor of the contest is not a participant. Florida’s attorney general back in…

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