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José Oliva leaves open possibility of gambling deal

“It depends on what the nature of that agreement will be…”

With three weeks left in the legislative session, House Speaker Jose Oliva is not rejecting the possibility of reaching a gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

“It depends on what the nature of that agreement will be because some of that will require a lot of back-and-forth,” Oliva told reporters on Thursday. “But I think that there is still time.”

Oliva said he does not have any conditions on what he would like to see included in a gambling agreement, known as a “compact,” between the tribe and the state.

Senate President Bill Galvano said Wednesday he was “encouraged” by the status of negotiations between the Senate and the tribe but said, “we’re not there yet.”

A new deal, however, could involve sports betting in Florida, a possibility opened by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year in a New Jersey case.

If the Legislature does not revamp a gambling agreement with the Tribe, which expires at the end of May, it could jeopardize annual $350 million payments the state gets from the Seminoles.

Like the Senate, Oliva indicated he is keeping the door open on the issue. “The thing about session is that in the last few weeks, we really start to use every hour of the day,” he said.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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