Florida Senator Proposes Bill to Allow Expansion of Parimutuel Facilities

Florida State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia has filed Senate Bill 1054 to support the expansion of parimutuel gambling in the Sunshine State. The bill proposing to delete “a requirement that certain permit holders show that their permits have not been disapproved or recalled at a later election” by the Florida Gaming Control Commission is to be considered at the upcoming 2024 legislative session.

Bill Proposal 1054:

As Local10.com reports, Senate Bill 1054 refers to parimutuel permit holders in the state and proposes that their future submissions of applications to the state regulator Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) exclude the said requirement. The FGCC is a five-member body, with members appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. As reported, the appointed members are as follows: Julie Imanuel Brown, an attorney; John D’Aquila, an accountant; Charles Drago, a retired police chief; Tina Repp, a retired FBI agent; and Louis Trombetta, an attorney and gambling law expert.

The source further reports that the bill filed by State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia  proposes to allow “greyhound dog racing permit holders to relocate if specified conditions are met.” The proposal reportedly comes after almost 70% of population voted in 2018 to have the state constitution amended to ban greyhound dog racing in 2020. The bill proposal would facilitate permit holders to run these gambling operations at locations where they would not be compromised.

Slot Machine Relocations:

For this reason, the bill reportedly requires the same conditions for the slot machine locations. According to the source, the bill requires“that a slot machine gaming area of a relocated parimutuel facility be at the location for which the relocation was approved.Parimutuel betting anticipates that those betting on the competitors finishing in the first three places share the winnings, therefore it is typically used in greyhound dog racing and horse racing. It means that the bill would allow for parimutuel facilities to circulate through the established locations within the state.

As Local10.com reports, the opponents were concerned that the bill would affect municipalities as it does not require their authorization for the establishment of parimutuel facilities. The bill reportedly provides“that parimutuel facilities that relocated … are not subject to municipal restrictions on the establishment of cardrooms, etc.” For the same reason, there were concerns that such a law could also affect Miami Beach, the state’s gambling mecca.

Jeffrey Soffer’s Presence:

As the source reports, the Miami city officials that oppose gambling are concerned that the billionaire Jeffrey Soffer may take advantage of the bill to expand gambling in the city. His newest 67-storey hotel casino development in the Las Vegas Strip reportedly represents an homage to the history of the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. The latter property was acquired by the Soffer family in 2005 to keep the casino mogul connected to the city.