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Special Session in the Works to Address Gambling

March 30th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

Lawmakers may be returning to Tallahassee sooner than later. The issue… Gaming.

Legislative leaders have confirmed a $60,000-a-day special session is in the works for as soon as mid-April.

Gambling reform has failed in the State Legislature for the past decade.

This year there was a sense of urgency to get something done because a constitutional amendment slated for the November ballot would require lawmakers to put any changes to the state’s gambling laws in front of voters.


“If that amendment were to pass it would severely restrict the ability of the Legislature to make decisions on how we move forward,” said Senate President Joe Negron when asked about the No Casinos amendment in February.

In addition to the amendment, a deadline set to pass at the end of the month will allow the Seminole Tribe of Florida to stop their more than $300 million annual payments to the state if the tribe feels the state isn’t holding up its end of the deal in state’s 25-year compact with the tribe.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran has warned if the tribe were to completely stop paying the state, between $390 and $441 million in General Revenue would have to be redistributed to make up the cost.

The Seminole Tribe could reduce payments over perceived violations of the tribes exclusivity to certain card games and slot machines.

Attorney Barry Richard represents the tribe.

He says the idea that  payments would stop outright is unlikely.


“The tribe doesn’t operate that way. They’re going to do what they think is reasonable given what their rights are and what the economic impact is upon them,” said Richard.

The sentiment was shared by next-inline for the Senate Presidency Bill Galvano this spring


“I feel like they still want to be partners with the state and realize there’s a value to working with us,” said Galvano.

Before any deal is approved by the Legislature, the tribe will have to be onboard if lawmakers want to ensure it continues to pay.

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