Florida could hold session over gambling agreement

Legislators may hold a special session this month to discuss the future of gambling in the state.

US.- Florida legislators may hold a special session this month if Republicans can reach an agreement on gambling. House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Sen. Bill Galvano said late last week that legislators are holding private conversations about the existing deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe.

The deal between Florida and the tribe has been under talks for quite some time as the latter says that under the agreement signed with the state years ago it is no longer required to make monthly payments to the state, as it expired on March 30th. The deal detailed that the tribe had to pay US$300 million a year to the state to exclusively operate table games and slot machines outside Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“There is no agreement; only some discussions,” state Sen. Bill Galvano said on Friday. “Whatever the talk is, the rumours are about going into special session, we don’t know whether they’re accurate or not,” said Barry Richard, outside legal counsel for the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Lawmakers want to renew the deal and expand gambling to other territories in Florida. State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, said: “I can tell you that I have been contacted, and have had some preliminary conversations on what a bill might look like. It is very early. Before anybody gets too excited or upset on the issue of gaming, I would remind them that for the past five years we have not been able to do anything on this subject.”

“At this time, I think it’s nothing more than the usual discussions and conversations that go on about ‘Ooh, there should be a gaming session,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘Ooh, there might be a gaming special session,” he added.

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