Florida Gaming Review To Exclude Online Casinos

While many states are moving forward swiftly in expanding gambling, Florida lawmakers are calling a timeout. After watching former Governor Charlie Crist sign a compact with the Seminole Indians to all slots and table games such as blackjack and baccarat, legislators took their turn in recent years, adding pari-mutuel slot and poker gaming.

With the explosion of gambling happening at a rapid pace, lawmakers in the Sunshine State now want to make sure that they are fully aware of any future consequences or benefits involving gambling. That will take carefull planning, according to several strategists.

Senator Garrett Richter gave insight this week into the plan of the Legislature. The idea circulating is to take the next two years and conduct a thorough investigation into the activity. Included will be the effects of new forms of gaming, studies on existing gambling options, and a look into horse racing.

One of the most controversial areas that will be discussed is the role Internet cafes will have moving forward. There are currently hundreds of Internet cafes in Florida. In recent years, lawmakers have been cracking down on the industry, which law enforcement officials believe is illegal.

One of the other main reasons the two year investigation will take place is to figure out whether Florida should re-up with the Seminoles. The original compact called for a five-year period of non-compete. After that, negotiations can either begin on extending the deal with the Seminoles, or the state can choose to open their gaming industry to Las Vegas developers.

MGM Mirage, Wynn Resorts, and Genting Malaysia have all had discussions with the state and have lobbied for a change in gaming laws. Las Vegas Sands has been Florida’s largest gaming lobby, but has been unable to convince lawmakers to add casino resorts.

Under the current plan, the House and Senate will together hire a consultant firm to research the gaming industry. After two years, lawmakers are hoping to have a comprehensive study in hand when they decide the future of the industry in the state.

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