Florida Legislature to meet on the future of gambling

This week, Florida’s Legislature will decide the future of gambling in the Sunshine State.

This includes approving a new 30-year deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe.

"I've always said the house always wins in casinos, but next week our job is to make sure it's the people of Florida that win," said Brevard County Rep. Randy Fine, Chairman of the Florida House Select Committee on Gaming. He is also a veteran of the casino industry.

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Rep. Fine explained to FOX 35 that there is likely to be a heated debate on expanding gaming in the state, including betting on sports. 

"I have the benefit of being in the casino business for 15 years. My role is to help members decide what the best decision is for them. On that issue it depends on whether you want to see an expansion of gambling in Florida or do you not," he said.

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The Legislature's special session on gaming starts Monday.

Fine says if the bill passes, people could potentially place bets from their cell phones, through servers based on tribal lands. That expansion does not sit well with people like John Sowinski, President of NoCasinos.org.

"Studies conclude," Sowinski says, "including those of the state's own revenue estimators, that a dollar spent on gambling whether it be online or in a casino is a dollar not spent somewhere else in our economy at a restaurant at a bar at a movie theater."

Former Governor of Florida has spoken out against the potential gambling expansion, stating:

"South Florida is on a roll! Our great quality of life and an incredible surge of job creators to our region have put us on a path for rising income and prosperity for many more of our neighbors. At the time when our economy is poised for an unprecedented takeoff after taking a hit from the pandemic, now is not the time to expand casino gambling which will benefit a handful at the expense of many."

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.