Jeff Kubina

Lawmakers have folded on plans to pass a comprehensive gambling overhaul bill this legislative session.

Ted Murphy

A gambling overhaul bill passed through the full Florida Senate Thursday. Meanwhile the House bill is heading for that chamber’s floor. While leaders say it’s been years since a gambling bill has advanced so far through the process, others point out there’s a long way left to go.

Peeking at cards during a poker game
Michał Parzuchowski /

Florida Senators have teed their gambling overhaul bill up for a vote on the floor Thursday .

The full chamber discussed the measure Wednesday. Bradenton Republican Senator Bill Galvano is the bill sponsor. He says each of the provisions in the bill are contingent on one another as well as on the state’s ability to negotiate an agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Erich Martin

The price to get your horse a slot at the starting gate in the Pegasus World Cup at Hallandale Beach Florida is a million dollars. The cheapest ticket for standing room in general admission is $100. It’s touted as the richest race in the world and the super bowl of thoroughbreds.

Peeking at cards during a poker game
Michał Parzuchowski /

Gambling is shaping up to be a major issue this legislative session. A bill filed in the Senate touches nearly every aspect of the industry from fantasy sports to greyhound racing. And each of those issues carries its own set of implications. For some it’s about finding more money to fund state projects, for others it’s about entertainment or spending time with friends and for those living in the city of Gretna it’s about jobs and a path toward stability.

Deck of cards with Ace of Spades on top
Steven Depolo

An attempt to create a new gambling agreement between the state and Seminole Indian Tribe failed last legislative session, but Florida’s legislative leaders say they’d like to see a compact pass this time around.

Jeff Kubina

The state’s economists are looking into the revenue slot machines are expected to produce this year. Estimators are seeing lower numbers from some locations, including one in Flagler. Chief Economist Amy Baker says that change could be connected to Hurricane Matthew, but that’s not the only explanation.

Michal Parzuchowski

In an effort to promote a proposed gaming agreement between Florida and the Seminole Indian Tribe, Gov. Rick Scott and representatives from the tribe met Monday. The group discussed the benefits of the compact, which include more money and more jobs, as well as a chance to retain the jobs the Seminole casinos currently provide.

Ian Murphy

The banked card game portion of the state’s gambling agreement with the Seminole Indian tribe has expired. And by the end of the month, the agreement stipulates the tribe is supposed to stop all card games like Black Jack. But it might not have to.

Jeff Kubina

After a Tallahassee Appeals Court reversed its decision and ruled legislative approval is needed for pari-mutuels to operate slot machines, a track in Gretna is hoping the state Supreme Court will take the case.

Attorney Marc Dunbar with the firm Jones Walker, is representing Creek Entertainment in Gretna. He says the question is really a state-wide issue, with several pari-mutuels other than North Florida's involved.

Ian Murphy

Florida voters want the Seminole gaming compact to continue. That’s according to a poll released by the Seminole Tribe of Florida Monday. The study comes as lawmakers consider allowing a piece of the state’s gaming agreement with the tribe to expire. 

Greyhounds racing
Rainer Hungershausen

Florida is among just a handful of states that continue to allow greyhound racing – the issue has come under scrutiny lately with lawmakers proposing greater oversight But some argue the state’s animal racing industry as a whole needs a closer look.

Capital Report: 03-03-2015

Mar 3, 2015

Tom Flanigan gives an overview of Governor Rick Scott’s Fifth State of the State address and the two responses from the Legislature’s Democratic leaders.

The Florida Senate is preparing to start debate over expanding Medicaid in Florida. Lynn Hatter reports the issue has been a major contention point between the House and Senate for the past three years.

Capital Report: 02-27-2015

Mar 2, 2015

Prison reform is slated to be a big issue this upcoming legislative session, and a re-do of prison health care contracts will be part of the reform efforts. Sascha Cordner reports the new Florida Department of Corrections Secretary says she’s making progress on the issue—something lawmakers are keeping an eye on.

Ian Murphy

Gaming is shaping up to be a big player this session as lawmakers consider what would happen if they don’t renew a portion of the state’s gaming compact with the Seminole tribe.

Capital Report: 02-20-2015

Feb 23, 2015

Despite broad opposition on Florida’s campuses, state lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to allow guns on university campuses.  Three months ago today, there was a shooting at Florida State University.  And, as Nick Evans reports, this week the controversial measure began its path through the state senate.

Rainer Hungershausen

Greyhounds are taking the lead with an injury reporting bill already rounding the corner. It’s one of the first bills Senate President Andy Gardiner has said he wants to see cross the finish line this session. The measure requires the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to track injuries greyhounds sustain while racing. Officials say, a racing greyhound dies in Florida every three days. But Jack Cory who represents the Florida Greyhound Association says the bill won’t help.

Capital Report: 03-13-2014

Mar 13, 2014

A fight over pharmacy staffing levels may be cooling down under a proposed compromise in the Florida Senate. But as Lynn Hatter reports, whether the deal sticks is another issue entirely.

Lawmakers in the Florida House are considering a plan that would let citizens hold all the cards when it comes to changing Florida gaming law. Regan McCarthy reports that’s one part of the House proposal for a Florida gaming overhaul.

Capital Report: 02-21-2014

Feb 21, 2014

Florida’s colleges and universities have their sights set on one big goal; getting more money.  But convincing state lawmakers to loosen their grip on the purse strings has proved tough in recent years.  Now, as Lynn Hatter reports, the schools are poised to collect millions more in so-called performance pay.  But not every school will be able to cash in.

The Florida Lottery is undergoing a rebranding change as part of a celebration to mark its 25th anniversary.

“This Saturday, January 12th will mark 25 years since the first lottery ticket went on sale,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O' Connell.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino

Gambling in Florida takes many forms, whether it’s the state lottery, dog tracks with poker rooms or full-scale resort-casinos. This year, lawmakers tried to create a state gaming commission to regulate all the various options in a more uniform way. At the same time, they tried to invite huge new casinos to Miami. Those measures died, but some policy makers are already planning on how to attack the contentious issue of gambling again, even though the next legislative session is more than half a year away.

Will a recent Supreme Court decision to allow more slot machines in South Florida lead to expansion of gambling throughout the rest of the state? Sascha Cordner delves into a recent decision by the high court to uphold a lower court ruling.

In 2004, Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment that allows several pari-mutuel facilities in South Florida to carry slot machines. That means places, like dog tracks and horse tracks, could now have slots in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Searching for a lottery ticket? Floridians will soon have more options, thanks to a measure signed Friday by Governor Rick Scott. Regan McCarthy reports the bill lets stores install vending machines that sell all kinds of lottery tickets including Powerball tickets, and others that were previously for sale only behind the counter.

The House sponsor of a bill to bring three major casinos to South Florida folded his hand Friday. James Call reports the Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee voted to table the proposal which would have introduced high-stakes Vegas-style casinos to the state.


The Florida casino gambling debate rages on, not just at the State Capitol, but also on the luncheon speaker circuit.  Tom Flanigan reports hundreds of Capitol Tiger Bay Club members were treated to a casino pro-and-con showdown Tuesday.