Florida’s position on gambling remains unyielding. With the state’s tribes having exclusivity over the industry, there are still some final touches that can be applied to improve its overall functionality, Senate President Bill Galvano thinks.
Bill Galvano Prepares a New Florida Gambling Bill
A few days beforeWalt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger reminded that his company would do everything it can to keep the state’s gambling at a minimum, Senate President Bill Galvano revealed plans for a new gambling bill.
Mr. Galvano has one purpose in mind, i.e. “to properly address gambling,” he said on Friday, February 8 commenting for journalists ahead of the 2019 Legislative Season.
In January, we saw Mr. Galvano speak to Associated Press journalists highlighting the importance of having working legislation, citing sports betting as an example:
We already have sports betting in Florida. [It’s] just not regulated, and we are not collecting and sharing revenues from that activity. So that’s another area where we will be focused.
Previous attempts at introducing changes to the overall gambling and sports betting climate have been unsuccessful. Back in November, 2018, the Mid-terms not only led to political upsets across the United States, they also saw Florida’s voters veto any future attempts to expand the industry.
Mr. Galvano is on the Job of Improving Gambling
Following the introduction of the “Voter Control on Gambling” Florida is ever more settled in its ways, with the Seminole tribes being the main contributors to the state’s coffers. In light of this partnership, Mr. Galvano will have to help re-negotiate the Compact agreement he helped introduce back in 2010.
Lawmakers and the Senate President will have to work out a renewal of the deal for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, with the original agreement continuing to operate without the legal backing. This doesn’t seem like an issue though, as Florida owes much to Seminole’s contributions.
For starters, the tribe has contributed $3 billion in the seven years since they have had exclusivity rights over the state’s gambling industry. Last fiscal year, they brought in $200 million in taxes. Understandably, any politician would be loath to dishonor an agreement because of a legal writ or lack thereof.
Investment doesn’t stop at the tax man either, with the Seminole tribes presently building the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, which will be integrated into a new hotel project estimated at $1.5 billion.
Sports Betting & Gambling Up for Discussion
Mr. Galvano was the only politician to successfully negotiate a Compact agreement with the Tribe, having managed to align all moving pieces and negotiate with all parties. Pushing a bill through legislature is a serious undertaking, but the Senate President seems up for it.
The question remains, though, whether he can attach sports betting to it and introduce a new overall gambling climate in the sunny state. Not everyone agrees though, including Voters in Charge President John Sowinski who agrees that it’s ultimately up for the voters to decide:
Only Florida voters, by constitutional initiative, have the authority to authorize any form of casino gambling, including sports betting.
Thinking about legalizing sports betting, Mr. Galvano believes that any attempts to introduce a sports betting bill to complement gambling at this point would only be possible if he chose to time it with a referendum.