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  1. Florida Politics

Senate bill pushes one-year extension on Seminole Tribe gambling compact

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, calls the extension for talks “common sense.”
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, calls the extension for talks “common sense.”
Published Apr. 4, 2015

TALLAHASSEE — A key state lawmaker said Friday that he wants to expand the current gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida for one year to buy time to continue negotiations.

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, chair of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries, said he filed legislation to extend the provision of the compact that expires on July 31 for one year. The measure is scheduled to come before his committee next week.

"Gaming is a complex issue with many stakeholders who have diverse viewpoints, opinions, and ideas. An extension of the current compact is a common sense solution to the time sensitive environment in which we find ourselves,'' Bradley said in a statement. "This approach allows the tribe to maintain the jobs associated with their current operations and the state to continue to receive revenue which can be used to advance our budget priorities."

Bradley's proposal is a scaled-down counterpoint to the massive gaming reform offered by the House. The House bill, the subject of a workshop last week, would allow for the expansion of gambling across the state, usher in resort casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward, give pari-mutuels in Palm Beach and Lee counties slot machines, and end dog racing at the greyhound tracks that also operate poker rooms.

The bill is so broad that questions remain whether its author, Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, could get the votes among the traditionally gaming-averse House.

"Providing more time for all parties to continue this important discussion about the future of gaming in our state will ensure we find the right policy rather than the quick answer," Bradley said.

Contact Mary Ellen Klas at meklas@miamiherald.com. Follow @MaryEllenKlas.