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Senate raises gambling offer to six slots licenses

The maneuvering toward comprehensive gambling legislation continues, with the Senate seeing the House offer to create three new slot machine licenses, and raising them three more.

The Conference Committee on Gaming met again Friday morning.

Out of the mix so far is expressly allowing fantasy sports play in the state, and allowing continued play of designated player games, a hybrid of poker and blackjack that’s proved lucrative to pari-mutuel cardrooms.

The Senate further restricted their offer of six new slots licenses to Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Lee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. Those counties previously passed local referendums to add slots at pari-mutuels.

Hamilton and Washington, two other “referendum counties,” were left out.

To strive toward the House goal of a net contraction of gambling in the state, the Senate included a requirement for pari-mutuels there to give up an active greyhound permit that generated $20 million in total handle, or two active greyhound or jai alai permits.

“Handle” refers to the total amounts of bets taken.

The Senate didn’t accept the House’s geographical restriction that any new slots facility be at least 100 miles away from the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, and at least 25 miles away from any other Seminole casino, including the one in Hollywood.

And the chamber would increase the House’s cap on machines per casino to 750 from 500.

Other highlights are below. A full story on the House’s opening offer is here.

Written By

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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