Joe Negron: Lawmakers ‘getting close’ to agreement on gambling

Legislature 41 ps 042817

Senate President Joe Negron on Monday said lawmakers are “getting close” to a deal on a gambling overhaul bill for the year.

The same day, however, a House Democrat who’s on the Conference Committee on Gaming tweeted “Nope” about the same thing.

Negron was asked about the legislation during a media availability after the day’s floor session. Lobbyists close to the negotiations said the House wouldn’t broker a gambling deal unless senators passed its favored homestead exemption increase, which won approval in the Senate Monday.

When asked how close, Negron said, “I don’t want to give you odds,” smiling. The 2017 Legislative Session is scheduled to end on Friday.

“We have a very compressed time period,” he said. “My interest in doing a gaming bill this session significantly decreases if we’re not able to deploy the funds available that we’re currently holding.”

Despite ongoing litigation over its right to offer blackjack, the Seminole Tribe of Florida continues to pay gambling revenue share to the state, about $20 million a month.

That money goes into the General Revenue Fund, though state officials have said it is administratively segregated.

A renewed blackjack agreement struck by Gov. Rick Scott promised $3 billion over seven years in revenue share to the state, but it failed to gain approval from lawmakers last year.

It’s back before the Legislature this year as part of dueling gambling legislation. The House wants to contract gambling overall, while the Senate would expand some gambling opportunities across the state, including allowing slot machines at pari-mutuels in counties that have passed local referendums approving them.

“I’m not committed to what we would do with those funds,” Negron said. “But I don’t think it makes sense to bring a gaming bill to the floor that doesn’t address the $200 million that’s available.”

But in response to the Senate passing the homestead bill, Tallahassee lawyer Hal Lewis tweeted, “The gambling bill should now be on the fast track!”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat on the gaming conference committee, soon tweeted back, “Nope.” 

“For too many years now, our inability to come to a solution on the issue of gaming has allowed the courts to fill the vacuum and legislate from the bench,” he said Monday night. “Meanwhile the dogs continue to run for their life next to an electrified third rail while no one is watching. I thought this year was going to be different.”

When asked specifically whether there was any chance of a bill this year, he said “no,” adding that “obviously the Senate President may know things I do not.”

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor 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 [email protected]


7 comments

  • MICHAEL LAFROSCIA

    May 2, 2017 at 10:22 am

    “For too many years now, our inability to come to a solution on the issue of gaming has allowed the courts to fill the vacuum and legislate from the bench,” he said Monday night. “Meanwhile the dogs continue to run for their life next to an electrified third rail while no one is watching. I thought this year was going to be different.”

    The dog racing should die before another dog dies…………

    • Dog man

      May 2, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Then be prepared to pay all of the salaries to those who lose their iobs and rehome 30,000 dogs.. it’s very easy to sit back and say stupid s#!+ without thinking of the actual consequences to actions. Even if decoupling passes, sever tracks have committed to continue live racing so put that somewhere and smoke it.

      • ken jest

        May 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        pb kennel club handles over 21 million on there live greyhound racing.other tracks doing well.bottom line slot machines just rob humans of there money fast
        create limited jobs just the cost of machine and a person to unload all the money they steal.not to mention all the devastation they do to low income people. that’s just the darn truth.

    • Gary willis

      May 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Wish people knew what there talking about before they spoke. Unless your involved in racing you don’t see how well the dogs are cared for and loved but your quick to take what I love away.

    • Bobby T

      May 2, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      When dog and horse racing decoupling is passed make owners give their employees 6-12 month notice on shutting down. We are talking about thousands of jobs here… directly and indirectly .

  • Jerry Dean

    May 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    The Florida Legislature will not pass a gambling bill giving Brevard County, FL a land-based casino. The Seminole Indians and Disney have Sen. Bill Calvano, Sen. Joe Negron, Rep. Tom Goodson, and Sen. Dorothy Hukill in their hip pocket. The Florida Legislature is a JOKE!!

  • BECKY

    May 6, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    They should also have an electrified fence for the jai alai players that will keep them on their toes.

Comments are closed.


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