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Florida Considers Radically Changing Gambling Laws

April 1, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Among the most populous states in the U.S., Florida may not be the bellwether of national trends that California is, but it is certainly too large and politically relevant to be ignored. So, when the lawmakers in that state give serious consideration to radically altering the way poker and other gambling is conducted, the entire nation is wise to take notice.

According to Bluff Magazine, there are currently two pieces of legislation making the rounds in the Florida congress. In the House of Representatives, a proposal to eliminate card-playing from many casinos would see a dramatic increase of slots over poker, blackjack, and baccarat.

Meanwhile, in the Florida Senate, something almost completely opposite is occurring: Lawmakers are considering expanding the state’s gambling laws to allow casinos to include roulette and craps, as well as adding more slot machines to non-casino locations. The legislation in its current form would also allow racetracks to add blackjack and no-limit poker gaming to their facilities. The estimated revenue boost for the state would be somewhere around a billion dollars per year, according to the article.   

What’s more, the Senate bill would even lower the state’s legal gambling age from 21 to 18!

“And most pertinent to the poker community,” states the article, “the gambling proposal looks to completely lift the current limit of $100 on cash game buy-ins and the slightly higher limit on poker tournament buy-ins.”

“And according to many Florida news outlets, numerous Representatives who initially opposed the Senate bill are reconsidering their votes as they are presented with the poker skill argument and state revenue possibilities,” the article continues.

So what’s the connection to online poker? Liberalizing land-based gambling laws doesn’t automatically mean that Internet policies will be liberalized as well, but it’s a healthy step in that direction. With the state taking a more reasonable policy towards land-based casinos, it becomes more difficult for them to make a case against online casinos and poker room.

Click here to read "Florida Gaming Law Changes Could Raise Limits and Lower Age" at Bluff Magazine.