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Senate and House move closer to deal on gambling bill

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The Senate capitulated to the House on several issues Thursday as part of ongoing negotiations to strike a compromise on gambling legislation, while holding firm on others. But the latest offer includes a key provision desired by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, OK’ing up to 1,500 slots machines in “facilities in referendum counties” with a requirement “to surrender to the state one active pari-mutuel permit.” Still, it looks like a final deal will be far from the ‘no expansion’ position the…

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Black clouds loom over this year’s gambling bills

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Ed. Note: A version of this story ran previously in Saturday’s “Takeaways from Tallahassee” email. It’s long been a Capitol cliché, but there are few pronouncements on a piece of legislation as inauspicious as calling something “a heavy lift.” Saying a bill is “a heavy, heavy lift” sounds even more portending of defeat. Yet that’s how House Speaker Richard Corcoran referred to the omnibus gambling bills now on their way to conference. They include a new agreement for continued exclusive rights…

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Seminole Tribe: Judge’s slots ruling could cost state ‘multi-billions of dollars’

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If it looks like a slot machine, and plays like a slot machine, it’s a slot machine, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is telling state leaders.  An order by a Tallahassee judge, first reported by FloridaPolitics.com, declared that certain slot machine-style entertainment devices aren’t slot machines under state law. The Tribe disagreed. It now says those games violate a deal between the Tribe and the state, known as the Seminole Compact. That could have “massive consequences costing the Tribe and the State to lose multi-billions…

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Letter: Feds may not have approved new Seminole Compact

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The nation’s top Indian gambling regulator last year told the Seminole Tribe of Florida that the federal government would be “hard-pressed” to approve its new blackjack agreement with the state. The tribe on Tuesday disclosed the June 2016 letter from Paula L. Hart, director of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Indian Gaming, as an attachment to its own letter this week to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders. (The letters are here.) Tribal Chairman Marcellus Osceola told the state that this year’s gambling…

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Appropriations committee votes to OK gambling bill, now cleared for Senate floor

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A wide-sweeping gambling bill is now ready to be heard by the full Senate when the 2017 Legislative Session kicks off next month, after it cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning. The bill (SB 8), sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, ratifies the 2015 Seminole Compact, subject to the approval of amendments to conform the agreement to provisions outlined in the bill and other actions to be taken by the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida, and would expand…

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Richard Corcoran already vexed by Senate gambling plan

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran is saving the profanities—for now. At a Thursday press availability, Corcoran was asked about comments by a lobbyist involved in this year’s gambling legislation, which the Senate has taken the lead on with an omnibus bill (SB 8). The person was overheard in a Capitol corridor saying he had spoken with the Speaker about the bill: “He’s not going for this free-for-all … He is going to let [the Senate] have their kitchen-sink charade for now.” “Those aren’t words that…

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Senate panel OKs gambling overhaul bill, including Seminole provisions

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The Florida Senate has seemingly fast-tracked the chamber’s gambling overhaul for this year, as its first panel gave unanimous thumbs up to the measure one hour into a meeting that had been scheduled to last four. The bill (SB 8) was cleared Wednesday by the Regulated Industries committee, which oversees gambling policy. It has only one more stop, Appropriations, before it can be heard on the floor. The 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7. The measure ensures “substantial positive impacts for many…

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