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Silvia Pavlof December 22, 2023 3 min read
Florida Sen. Blaise Ingoglia Proposes Bold Gambling Expansion Bill
The proposed legislation suggests eliminating a prerequisite for specific permit holders to prove the unblemished history of their permits when submitting subsequent applications
Florida state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia has introduced SB 1054: Pari-mutuel Permitholders, aiming for a significant gambling expansion as the 2024 legislative session approaches.
Florida Commission Faces Scrutiny as Senator Files Bill for Regulatory Changes
The bill, filed on December 21, targets the Florida Gaming Control Commission, proposing the removal of a requirement for certain permitholders to demonstrate their permits’ untarnished history during subsequent applications, reported Local10. The commission, a five-member regulatory body recently reappointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, oversees the state’s gambling regulations.
Ingoglia’s proposal also seeks to greenlight greyhound racing permitholders to relocate under specific conditions. This comes after nearly 70% of voters in the November 2018 election supported amending the state constitution to ban dog racing in 2020.
Of particular note is the stipulation that a relocated pari-mutuel facility’s slot machine gaming area must be at the approved relocation spot. Nevertheless, worries have been expressed regarding the potential restriction of municipal authority by the bill. It suggests that relocated pari-mutuel facilities would not be bound by municipal restrictions on the establishment of cardrooms.
Miami Beach, in particular, is closely monitoring the situation, with fears that the legislation could impact the city’s stance on gambling. City officials, especially those opposing gambling, express concerns about the potential influence of Jeffrey Soffer, the billionaire behind the Las Vegas Strip’s newest hotel-casino. Soffer’s towering 67-story tribute to Fontainebleau in Miami Beach has heightened worries among officials.
Ingoglia’s Bill Shifts Dynamics Amidst Florida’s Gambling Debate
Ingoglia, a Republican representing District 11 encompassing Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties, along with a northern area of Pasco County, is spearheading this legislative effort.
As news of the gambling expansion bill spreads, speculation grows about its implications. This legislative move comes at a time when gambling is becoming a focal point in Florida politics. Ingoglia’s bill has the potential to be a game-changer, not only for the gambling industry but also for the communities and municipalities impacted by these regulatory shifts.
Additionally, Ingoglia’s bill proposal comes on the backdrop of intense legal battles on the sports betting front. At the beginning of December, Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody, urged the state Supreme Court to dismiss a legal challenge to the legality of digital sports betting, contending that it falls outside the state constitution’s definition of casino gambling.
The case, filed by West Flagler and Associates against the 2021 compact between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Seminoles, which granted the tribe a monopoly on sports betting and casinos, faces potential dismissal on grounds including a delayed filing. West Flagler’s appeal clashed with the Seminole Tribe’s app relaunch, with both parties aiming to expand legal sports betting options in Florida despite ongoing legal battles.