Legislative Changes Made to Senate Bill 8 of Florida

by Jim Hall

FloridaChanges have been made to Senate Bill 8 ahead of a Committee vote set to take place today in Florida.

Gambling bills seem to be popping up everywhere in the United States as individual states are preparing to offer casino gaming, online gaming, daily fantasy sports or even the lottery. Gaming is vastly different from state to state and to be able to offer something new, states have to create legislation either creating new laws or amending current ones. In Florida, there are two proposals currently in the works that will see changes made to the gambling landscape of the state.

Senate Bill 8

In January, Senator Bill Galvano of Florida proposed an expansion of gambling for the state and now has amended and extended his proposed Senate Bill 8, just ahead of a second Senate Committee vote. The vote is supposed to take place today and if approved, would move on to a full Senate vote in March. Changes were made in order to see more legislators show their support for the measure.

With the legislative session due back by the 7th of next month, Galvano has had little time to make changes to his proposed gambling bill. The amended version has 134 pages and includes provisions that relate to how bingo would be offered in the state. The bill also includes new games for cardrooms and daily fantasy sports.

In the previous version of the measure, cardrooms of the state were to be allowed the option to offer designated card games. With the amended version, 45 days were given to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering group to provide a list of rules that must be followed by the cardroom in regards to these specific games.

As far as daily fantasy sports are concerned, the changes will see the Office of Contest Amusements created which will determine the requirements for licensing and regulations within the DFS industry for the state. If the bill were to pass muster, the state would be ready to offer legalized DFS gaming. Florida would then join several states in the US that provides a legalized and regulated industry for DFS.

A second Committee vote is set to take place today on the measure and a bill in the state House of Representatives also to be voted upon. If the House bill gains support in the House Tourism and Gaming Control Subcommittee, the bill will need to face one more Committee before it will be considered by the full House. Still a long way to go but the potential is there for the measure to move forward.

The House sponsored bill, PCB TGC 17-01, and Senate Bill 8, are somewhat contradictory as the Senate bill allows for player-designated games to be provided by pari-mutuels while the House bill does not. It will be interesting to watch today as the voting takes place if either bill will be able to move forward for consideration.

A Long Way to Go

Florida has a long way to go if they are going to be able to see changes made to gambling laws. The state has been trying to come to a decision for some time as to what will happen between the Seminole Tribe and the state as far as a new gambling compact is concerned. These bills would certainly impact a new compact in some manner so legislators will have to weigh this into consideration as well.

A Positive Vote

At the time of writing, the Senate actually voted on Senate Bill 8 which has now passed muster with a 14 to 2 vote. The two opposed to the measure include Senators Kelli Stargel and Aaron Bean. The measure will now move on to be considered within the full Senate.