A new gaming bill was filed on Thursday in Florida by Senator Bill Galvano, as the latest effort to stop the gaming issues currently plaguing the state. SB 8 was filed by Galvano on Thursday and covers several areas of gaming from the compact involving the Seminole Tribe and the state along with daily fantasy sports and lottery sales at the gas pumps.

SB 8 covers a wide range of topics, including the $3 billion gaming compact that Governor Rick Scott was able to reach with the Seminole Tribe in late 2015. The bill would approve the compact but place requirements on the tribe. The tribe will have to accept revised exceptions from exclusivity on slot gaming machines as well as house-banked card games. The bill would allow the tribe to offer wheel and dice games in exchange for meeting the requirements as well as expanding the game of blackjack to each of the casinos the tribe owns in Florida.

Pari-mutuels would be able to offer blackjack gaming based on SB 8 but have their tables capped at 25 per track. A $100 max would be placed on two-card wagers and a 25% tax paid on monthly gross revenues by blackjack operators.

Pari-mutuel operators will also be able to offer slot gaming as long as the venue is located in a county that approved the option via a referendum vote. A new slots license will also be up for grabs in Miami-Dade County and Broward County as part of the bill.

The slot tax of the state will go down, changing from 35% to 25%. Gaming can also take place at slot venues and cardrooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week instead of the 18 hours that slot venues were previously allowed. Card rooms are only allowed to operate eight hours a day currently so they would see the biggest change.

As far as daily fantasy sports is concerned, the bill would bring back a previous proposal in which the Department of Business and Professional Regulation will create the Office of Amusements. This group will oversee all activity involving daily fantasy sports. Licensees of DFS will have to pay an initial fee of $500,000. Annual renewals of licensing will be required at $100,000 each year. Smaller operators have been promised a lower fee.

The bill includes even more gaming changes including adding POS lottery terminals that will offer gas station sales of lottery tickets as gas is being pumped. While the terminals would be allowed, they cannot feature any type of video depiction of slot machine gaming or mechanical reels as well as themes or titles of casino games.

 

One Response

  1. Steven Norton

    Once dog and horse tracks are no longer required to have live racing, it would seem the State could bring the slot tax rate back to the 50% level; that was only reduced to underwrite live racing. Whether tracks can keep their Black Jack, should be dealt with in the Seminole Compact negotiations. The good news for Florida tourism is the probable inclusion of the game of Craps and Roulette in the Seminole negotiations; which would put the Tribal casinos on equal footing with other resort destinations; the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Biloxi and many other Island and Central American casinos.
    I still believe it would be wrong to allow the horse tracks to stop racing, as they are part of the Florida tourism infrastructure, but they would need a lower tax than free standing slot casinos; and of course Tampa Bay Downs, needs a subsidy, absent other forms of gaming.
    It might also be wise to consider moving some the dog track casino licenses to more suitable locations; more convenient to the visitor population.

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