Got Something to Say About Gaming in Florida? You've Been Invited

By: Sunshine State News | Posted: October 11, 2013 3:55 AM

Floridians with something to say on the economic and social impacts of gaming in Florida will get to record their comments and register to speak at an upcoming meeting by logging on to a new website -- a "microsite" established by the Senate Committee on Gaming.

Senate President Pro Tempore Garrett Richter, R-Naples, chairman of the committee, announced the new website Thursday. “Recent rapid changes have transformed gaming industries, but laws and tax policies have not kept pace, and layers of exceptions and patches are not working well to promote the state's overall economic and social welfare,” he said.

“The situation demands a comprehensive critical assessment and it is the Gaming Committee’s responsibility to review gambling statutes, to address the ambiguities, inconsistencies, and exceptions in current law, and to craft an action plan.”

Florida has an expansive gaming picture to consider.

Gaming is a well-established business sector in Florida, with roots stretching back to the 1890s. In the past 25 years, gaming industries have been transformed, not just in Florida but all around the country.

Pari-mutuel wagering has declined. The state Lottery, as well as cruises, card rooms, casinos, and “Internet cafes” have emerged. During the 2014 legislative session, the Senate aims to replace the current makeshift structure with a comprehensive statewide approach to gaming policy.

In preparation for this important work, the Senate Gaming Committee has said it will conduct public meetings across the state to listen to the views of as many citizens as possible.

In particular, the committee wants public reactions to the two-part “Florida Gambling Impact Study,” commissioned by the Florida Legislature earlier this year. The study provides an independent and unbiased factual assessment of the social and economic impacts of gaming.

“Understanding local perspectives and personal impacts is an instrumental component of public policy decisions that could impact the future of gaming in our state for generations,” said Richter. “Community leaders and interested citizens are encouraged to add their testimony to the committee record by submitting comments in writing or speaking at a public workshop.”

From the Senate’s “Gaming” webpage, Floridians can:

  • Download a copy of the “Florida Gambling Impact Study.”
  • Submit comments in writing.
  • Access maps and directions for attending a public workshop.
  • Register to speak at a public workshop (deadline for online requests is three days prior to workshop; those who miss the deadline and wish to speak may attend the workshop and fill out appearance cards onsite).

Four workshops are scheduled at locations across the state:

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 4-7 p.m. (Eastern)
Broward College, North Campus, OMNI Auditorium
1000 Coconut Creek Blvd, Coconut Creek, FL 33066
To be listed on the agenda, make request to speak on or before Oct. 16, 2013.

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 3-6 p.m. (Eastern)
George Jenkins High School, Auditorium
6000 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, FL 33813
To be listed on the agenda, make request to speak on or before Oct. 23, 2013.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 1:30-4:30 p.m. (Central)
WSRE-TV Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio
1000 College Blvd., Pensacola, FL 32504
To be listed on the agenda, make request to speak on or before Nov. 7, 2013.

Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 2-5 p.m. (Eastern)
Florida State College at Jacksonville Downtown Campus, Advanced Technology Center
401 W. State St., Jacksonville, FL 32202
To be listed on the agenda, make request to speak on or before Nov. 8, 2013.

The Senate Gaming Committee also will meet in Tallahassee Nov. 4 and Dec. 9 to hear more public and industry reactions to the “Florida Gambling Impact Study.”

Comments (3)

Michael Fazekas
10:15PM OCT 15TH 2013
Thanks for a chance to tell our side and our experience of gaming in Florida. I think it should be up to each county to decide if Internet cafes can come to that area with regulations and inspections. If a county has a Casino for the locals , internet cafes might not be welcome. In Duval the more cafés the more competition ,the better it is for the players. People from out of town wanted to visit and stay for a long time to play at the variety of cafes. The software companies outside the state should have to pay a fee with incentives to move to Florida , where they wouldn't have to pay the fee . That in turn would bring jobs here and regulations would be easier. The Internet cafe is the best thing that happened to seniors since shuffle board 60 years ago. We knew people that wanted to move to and take vacations in Jacksonville when all of the cafés were active. That's how much fun they were. We met more people and had birthday parties and other holiday fun at these places. We went out to lunch and dinner at local restaurants, supporting local businesses, between going to our favorite cafés and visiting with the friends we made. Please legalize the Internet cafe so that the seniors have a nice form of entertainment, instead of being couch potatoes!
Thanks for reading Michael Fazekas
Rick Turay
5:34PM MAR 28TH 2014
I agree with this viewpoint....the current system of "looking the other way until you decide to bust them" is idiotic! A lot of good people lost their jobs and the savings they had invested in these businesses through no fault of their own - they just got caught up in the sweep of the crooked Allied ventures. Now the games have had to be changed and they are NO FUN for the players. It is the fault of our elected representatives and governorthat were too lazy to examine the issue and issue proper rules in 2013! Let's vote them ALL out of office...THRASHER included...and continue to take our money to Biloxi and other venues smart and ambitious enough to provide what the majority of citizens want.
donald odehnal
12:07PM OCT 15TH 2013
thrasher is so against the internet cafes in fl am I wrong that was a lobbyist for the dog track at one time is that not gambling

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