Important Changes to Florida Gambling Laws Looming in 2017
Florida has been going strong in their intention to introduce some necessary modifications to their current gambling laws. A couple of weeks ago, a legislation proposal was introduced, aiming to expand Florida gambling. The biggest obstacle on this path is the state’s compact with Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Senate Bill 8
The proposed legislation, going under Senate Bill 8, is championed by State Senator Bill Galvano. It is a continuation of a long battle between the State of Florida and Seminole Tribe over Tribe’s exclusive right to spread card games like blackjack.
The new bill, if ratified by all legislative bodies and signed by the Governor Rick Scott, would license a couple of new slots-only casinos. At the same time, it would allow for existing venues to spread up to twenty-five blackjack tables on their premises. Venues in several Florida counties would also be able to apply for their slots licenses starting with January 1, 2018, and the tax on slot machines would be reduced to 25% (a 10% reduction).
The End of Monopoly
By allowing other venues to offer „banked“ games, Florida would effectively end the monopoly that Seminole Tribe currently holds over these games. It would also end the monopoly on slots machines offer in the counties other than Miami-Dade and Broward.
The passing of Senate Bill 8 would also allow Florida to finally access $200 million that Seminole Tribe of Florida paid up in revenue-sharing payments. This money is currently being held in escrow, awaiting an agreement or court ruling, since the 2010 compact is being contested based on expiration.
Online Gambling in Florida
Galvano’s bill also touches on a hot topic of Daily Fantasy Sports. Senate Bill 8 would also regulate these activities under the new Office Of Amusements. Sites wanting to operate in Florida would have to pay a $500,000 licensing fee for the privilege.
The senator has been working tirelessly to create all prerequisites for the passage of the bill, and as things stand right now, the odds seem in his favor. The new legislation would have a significant effect on the state’s budget and would establish stability in the gambling market. With boosted guaranteed incomes, Florida could plan ahead and distribute the money acquired from gambling taxes to fund various state-wide programs.
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