Gulfstream and Mardi Gras at Odds Over Gambling Bills

Another bill the House passed Monday would eliminate blackjack at tribal casinos like the Hard Rock, but would increase betting limits in poker across the state (raising the maximum buy-in from $100 to $1,000), allow card rooms to operate 24 hours a day, and decrease taxes pari-mutuels pay on profits from slot machines. It's a big step forward for the traditionally conservative, anti-gambling House.

The Senate went even further. That body's proposed bill would allow complete "Vegas-style" gaming (which include previously banned games like craps and roulette) in tribal casinos, and allow blackjack and Bingo-style slots at tracks in Florida.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the House plan would generate $373 million for next year's budget and $282 million a year after that. The Senate plan creates a bigger windfall, generating $568 million in the first year. Big numbers when the state has a $6 billion shortfall.

Pompano Park has not received a quarter horse permit, but yesterday Broward county officials approved plans to expand the harness track, owned by Isle of Capri, to include a 500-room hotel and an additional 67,000 square feet of gambling space. Pompano Beach commissioners had already approved the plans.

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