Horse racing, Jai Alai face uncertain future in Florida

At 0h02, on May 17, 2021 By NEWSROOM/Jeffrey Schweers, Capital Bureau USA TODAY NETWORK

One hundred years after it was first legalized in Florida, could horse racing be going the way of greyhound racing: Out of business?

Lawmakers return to Tallahassee Monday for a special session to consider a new gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe, giving it exclusive rights to run online sports betting in Florida.

The House and Senate also will discuss three pieces of legislation that would create a regulatory framework for online sports betting, licensing, tax rates and fees.

One would create a statewide gaming commission to regulate sports betting and other games allowed by Florida law, and a second would carve out a public records exemption to protect certain information presented to the commission.

A third bill would allow Florida pari-mutuels – with the exception of thoroughbred racing – to “decouple” live racing and jai alai matches from their casino operations.

That means jai alai frontons and race tracks that have card rooms and slot machines, nicknamed “racinos,” wouldn’t have to run expensive live events that cost more than they earn, relying on the casino profits to subsidize them. Tracks that just want to operate more lucrative card rooms, for instance, could abandon racing.

To read the story : Tallahassee Democrat

 

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