Fl. Senate panel signs off on gambling expansion

Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — A bid to bring three megacasinos in Florida is moving ahead in the state Legislature for now.

A Senate committee on Monday voted 7-3 to approve a measure that would allow the casinos. The bill would also allow dog tracks and horse tracks outside of South Florida to add slot machines. Local voters would have to vote yes before either could take place.

The legislation also regulates so-called Internet cafes, which have cropped up around the state despite questions about whether the sweepstakes operations are legal.

Legislators supporting the bill contended it marks the state setting a firm direction on gambling. Sen. John Thrasher called it the largest expansion of gambling in state history.

It is still unclear if House Republicans will go along with the latest proposal.

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