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Jac VerSteeg: Sen. Joe Abruzzo’s ‘wide open’ alternative to the Seminole Compact

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What happens if the Florida Legislature refuses to ratify the Seminole Compact that Gov. Rick Scott negotiated with the Tribe? No one really knows, of course, but state Sen. Joe Abruzzo, a Boynton Beach Democrat, offered a tantalizing hint toward the end of a recent workshop by the Senate’s Regulated Industries Committee. Addressing Jim Allen, the CEO of Seminole Gaming, Sen. Abruzzo said: “In looking at this and all the moving parts and how difficult this issue is, we hear…

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Why does the Governor’s compact treat pari-mutuels outside of South Florida so poorly?

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Earlier this year, before the start of the 2015 regular Legislative Session, House Speaker Steve Crissafulli articulated a very clear and prescient position on the state’s approach toward gambling. Notably, he asked, “What do we get from the Seminole Gaming Compact and do we want to offer parity to pari-mutuels?’ As a seventh-generation Floridian, Crisafulli asked what the Legislature would do to support Florida’s generational businesses. Why would the Legislature continue to enrich and enhance the opportunity of the Seminole Tribe…

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Seminole Tribe ad calls Rick Scott, lawmakers to “get it done” with new Compact

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The Seminole Tribe of Florida is taking to the airwaves with a new ad urging the public to pressure Gov. Rick Scott and state legislators to “get it done” and renew the gambling agreement known as the Seminole Compact. Signed in 2010, the Compact allows the Tribe to offer blackjack and other banked card games at seven Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos across the state. The provision ended July 31, with a 90-day grace period allowing for renegotiation and “structured…

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Florida court reverses itself on slots

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A far-reaching court ruling that could have opened the door to slot machines at dog and horse tracks across Florida has been reversed. The 1st District Court of Appeal on Friday ruled that slot machines could not be installed at a facility 25 miles west of Tallahassee. The decision was unusual because the same court overturned its own decision from May, when it stated that slot machines were allowed because Gadsden County voters approved a referendum authorizing them. Calling it…

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Donald Trump tells Jeb Bush he didn’t want a Florida casino, but he did

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Jeb Bush said during Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate that Donald Trump wanted casino gambling in Florida. Donald Trump said “I did not.” “I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it,” Trump told Bush during the exchange. Bush replied, “No way, man.” But the fact is, Trump wanted it and didn’t get it under the Bush administration, despite donating money to the state Republican Party and Bush. “The bottom line is Donald Trump was interested in casino…

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South Florida voters may get chance to vote on casinos

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South Florida voters may get a chance to tell legislators whether they want Las-Vegas styled casinos. A Florida House panel on Thursday voted in favor of a stripped-down gambling bill. Legislators removed a provision to allow two casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but agreed to let county commissioners hold referendums on whether casinos should be allowed. Rep. Ritch Workman said he wants to know if people in “downtown Miami” support a casino. Even if voters say yes, the Legislature…

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ICYMI: Florida Senate to seek extending gambling compact 1 year

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The Florida Senate will consider extending an agreement with the Seminole Tribe that allows blackjack and other card games at six casinos by a year in an effort to buy time on a complicated issue. Regulated Industries Committee Chairman Rob Bradley said he’ll take up a proposal next week that would allow the games to go on. Without an extension, the tribe will have to shut down card games on July 31 under the agreement signed in 2010. Other parts…

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