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The special session in Tallahassee hasn’t even started yet, but already the dam is beginning to break. 

Former Governor Jeb Bush (R) came out this morning against the historic compact incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, negotiated last month

Now is not the time to expand casino gambling which will benefit a handful at the expense of many,” Bush said this morning, according to Mary Ellen Klas, a reporter with the Miami Herald.

Bush’s statement comes hours before the Florida Legislature is set to tackle the deal in a week-long special session. Hearings are scheduled to begin at 2 pm today.

Opponents To Sports Hitting The Airwaves

Under the terms of the deal, the Seminole Tribe agrees to pay the state a minimum of $500 million for the next five years for the right to be the exclusive host of sports betting. The Tribe would administer the program through servers placed on their property, but any mobile phone in Florida would be allowed to place a bet once connected to the server. 

Proponents of the deal have argued the state needs the revenue and should capitalize on sports betting which all sides agree is taking place illegally in the state. 

But John Sowinski, president of No Casinos, which opposes the deal, has spent the last few days hitting the airwaves with interviews on local television stations explaining his group’s position.

He told CBS4 in Miami that the language is a “fallacy” because federal and state law both require the actual gambling to take place on tribal lands, and not through a remote server.

During a separate appearance on ‘This Week in South Florida’ on ABC10, he argued the revenue is not actually new.

“This is not new money at stake, it’s cannibalized revenue from another economic sector,” he said, explaining that studies have shown money spent at a casino is coming from money that otherwise would have been spent at a restaurant or movie theatre in the state.

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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