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Old 11-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #26
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

Rich is right. If only three people spoke up, and one was PX and another was the PPA rep, then that is an embarrassment that the players in Florida own themselves.

Do you think the PPA should devote resources to a state where the players won't speak up for themselves, won't get involved, and largely won't support the PPA?

After all these years, players still don't get how this works. If all they are willing to do is ***** on a poker forum, they can't be surprised and the lack of results that effort gets them.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:15 AM   #27
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

This whole thread makes me sad... I absolutely despise politicians for the most part, and sadly, money is what gets bills passed. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around why Florida doesn't jump on board with the other 3 states that have legalized it... I'm pretty sure Florida is all about making money in any way possible. Why would Ultimate Poker not be pounding our state politicians with the numbers on how much they can rake in with minimal effort?

I understand that the lack of support isn't helping our chances, but sadly, a lot of people feel the same way I do. The politicians are gonna do what they wanna do, make deals behind closed doors, and this really only has a chance if someone pays someone. It might be a stretch, but this is how I see politics, and it's a sad truth.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:07 AM   #28
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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Originally Posted by sbarnhouse View Post
This whole thread makes me sad... I absolutely despise politicians for the most part, and sadly, money is what gets bills passed. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around why Florida doesn't jump on board with the other 3 states that have legalized it... I'm pretty sure Florida is all about making money in any way possible. Why would Ultimate Poker not be pounding our state politicians with the numbers on how much they can rake in with minimal effort?

I understand that the lack of support isn't helping our chances, but sadly, a lot of people feel the same way I do. The politicians are gonna do what they wanna do, make deals behind closed doors, and this really only has a chance if someone pays someone. It might be a stretch, but this is how I see politics, and it's a sad truth.
OTOH, if just one tenth of one percent of the PPA members in Florida (55,000) had shown up at each of the Senate committee public meetings, it would have had a huge influence on the political process. Money isn't the sole thing that gets bills passed and not everything is behind closed doors.
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #29
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
OTOH, if just one tenth of one percent of the PPA members in Florida (55,000) had shown up at each of the Senate committee public meetings, it would have had a huge influence on the political process. Money isn't the sole thing that gets bills passed and not everything is behind closed doors.
While I'd like to believe that, I can't agree. Sadly, our political system works how the politicians want it to work, and if they have no benefit in said matter, 500 PPA members at a town hall meeting will not sway their stance. It all boils down to money and "what's in it for me". That's the sad truth, and a big reason why America is slowly crumbling at our feet.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:48 PM   #30
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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While I'd like to believe that, I can't agree. Sadly, our political system works how the politicians want it to work, and if they have no benefit in said matter, 500 PPA members at a town hall meeting will not sway their stance. It all boils down to money and "what's in it for me". That's the sad truth, and a big reason why America is slowly crumbling at our feet.
I understand your disillusionment, but voting citizens can still influence the direction of legislation. The Senate committee didn't have to hold multiple open meetings across the state. They did really want to hear from constituents.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:59 AM   #31
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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I understand your disillusionment, but voting citizens can still influence the direction of legislation. The Senate committee didn't have to hold multiple open meetings across the state. They did really want to hear from constituents.
I wish I had known about this earlier then.. I would have helped spread the word. I'm just over politics in this country. Hopefully Ultimate Poker can do some lobbying, they seem to be headed in the right direction at least.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:35 AM   #32
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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I wish I had known about this earlier then.. I would have helped spread the word. I'm just over politics in this country. Hopefully Ultimate Poker can do some lobbying, they seem to be headed in the right direction at least.
Emails were sent to all the FL PPA members. You should get on the list.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:53 PM   #33
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

That would've probably not helped much as I don't check my email often at all... maybe like once a month. I think the most powerful weight we have going is Ultimate Poker and the snowball effect that should be taking place. I can't imagine Florida not wanting a piece of the pie, we go after every other dollar, and this would be more than a few bucks coming in.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:41 PM   #34
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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That would've probably not helped much as I don't check my email often at all... maybe like once a month. I think the most powerful weight we have going is Ultimate Poker and the snowball effect that should be taking place. I can't imagine Florida not wanting a piece of the pie, we go after every other dollar, and this would be more than a few bucks coming in.
There are some flaws in your argument. First, if Ultimate Poker saw lobbying in FL as cost effective, they would do it. Since they are not, apparently they don't see it having an effective risk/benefit ratio.

If the businesses who will be the primary beneficiaries of legislation do not see it as cost effective, it can be reasoned that the potential tax revenue is also not enough to take a position that could cost them support on election day.

There are a lot more people out there who are against gambling in general and gambling online specifically than you think. Unless there are vocal supporters among the voters, who use rational arguments to make the case that regulation is superior to prohibition, we won't get anywhere.

You need to look beyond the cynical view that only big business can effectively move state politics. While the money helps, if there isn't a groundswell of support from the people, there is no pressing need to address the issue.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:07 PM   #35
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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There are some flaws in your argument. First, if Ultimate Poker saw lobbying in FL as cost effective, they would do it. Since they are not, apparently they don't see it having an effective risk/benefit ratio.

If the businesses who will be the primary beneficiaries of legislation do not see it as cost effective, it can be reasoned that the potential tax revenue is also not enough to take a position that could cost them support on election day.

There are a lot more people out there who are against gambling in general and gambling online specifically than you think. Unless there are vocal supporters among the voters, who use rational arguments to make the case that regulation is superior to prohibition, we won't get anywhere.

You need to look beyond the cynical view that only big business can effectively move state politics. While the money helps, if there isn't a groundswell of support from the people, there is no pressing need to address the issue.
Understood... and yes, I'll admit I have a cynical view of politics, and for good reason. They're mostly scumbags and don't care about what's best for the people. Hopefully something happens, and soon.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:02 PM   #36
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

I have an update and a few comments:

First,there has been an additional meeting scheduled. On December 15th the Senate will hold a meeting in Tallahassee and take comments from anyone that signs up. This is a good opportunity to get a sort of "last word" in before the Senate breaks for the holidays and returns for what is likely a very active session. Anyone that wants to speak can sign up here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Media/Topics/gaming.

Second, some general comments to the last few posters. There is more to it then just throwing money at the politicians or waiting for the corporate interests to get involved. The gaming compact adds complexity to Florida that has kept the corporate interest away. Until 2015, any expansion or new form of gaming in Florida will allow the Seminoles to stop paying some or all of the state tax they currently pay. The spectrum report presented several expansion scenarios that would result in this tax loss but none of them specifically included online poker. We as poker players have failed so far to really present the demand and the potential market size to the legislature in a manner in which they can understand and realize it may be something worth looking into. I understand the disinterest in politics (and agree with it to some extent) but just because you don't like the game doesn't mean you shouldn't play it. This is the system we have; unfortunately it is all we have; it is the best solution to our problem. If we don't try we don't have a chance at all.

PX has spoken, the PPA rep has spoken twice. I hope some others have submitted comments. We have another opportunity to be heard and hopefully someone takes advantage of it.
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:14 PM   #37
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

I did send a message to the link provided and got a return email saying it was received. But as a long time lurker on this site - and Florida resident - I do have a question. Maybe it should be in another thread - if so point me in the right direction.

If Floridians where given a choice would they opt for legalizing On-line poker in the state, or allowing a Resort Casino in the Space Coast area that has been hit hard since the Space Project closures?

Not being from Florida I NEVER understood the strangle hold the Seminole's have on the gaming industry here. I am sure the politics are way above my head, but the fact is I would doubt very seriously that this type of state sponsored monopoly would be accepted in any other industry.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:53 PM   #38
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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I did send a message to the link provided and got a return email saying it was received. But as a long time lurker on this site - and Florida resident - I do have a question. Maybe it should be in another thread - if so point me in the right direction.

If Floridians where given a choice would they opt for legalizing On-line poker in the state, or allowing a Resort Casino in the Space Coast area that has been hit hard since the Space Project closures?

Not being from Florida I NEVER understood the strangle hold the Seminole's have on the gaming industry here. I am sure the politics are way above my head, but the fact is I would doubt very seriously that this type of state sponsored monopoly would be accepted in any other industry.
Thanks for submitting the comment and for the post.

I don't really know what people opt for. Its hard to speak for them. I know I would rather have online poker.

Florida gaming politics involve more than just the Seminoles. Disney is also one of the loudest and most well funded voices against any increase of gaming in Florida. For example there is a facility that has a permit to conduct pari-mutuel wagering in Orlando but it has not been given a license for a poker room; which is an anomaly. The Space Coast's proximity to Orlando would be a huge hurdle to overcome for any destination casino. The scenarios the legislature presented to Spectrum consisted of destination casinos in South Florida and Jacksonville, far away from Disney.

You are correct about the way governments treat casinos. It is an odd industry and treated differently in each jurisdiction but there are several examples of government supported monopolies all based on the idea that the industry can be regulated better in that manner. IMO it is the preferred method. Sure its bad for player comps and frequent player point type rewards but I would rather have epicenters that people go to for gambling than have it spread across the state so that slot machines are in every bar and gas station. I like the glitz and glamour idea that comes with a big resort style casino over a small gambling parlor in every town. Just my opinion.
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:18 AM   #39
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

Here is my prediction for FL gaming this legislative session or next:

Limited number of destination resort casinos in a South FL limited geographic area.
Partial de-coupling of poker room operations from parimutuel racing. (i.e., lowered race or purse requirements)
A state-wide voter referendum on slots expansion to all parimutuels (with county voter approval for each location, limited operational hours and coupling to racing).
The final kibosh on Internet gambling cafes, but a redefinition that allows adult non-gambling arcade gaming.
Online lottery ticket sales.

I don't think online poker will be on the table.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:48 PM   #40
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

I agree with you on some of that.

I think decoupling will happen in some manner. There have been several decoupling bills that have gone to committee but never went beyond that. I think there has been enough talk about it now for one of these bills to make it through. It may not be a complete "no performance" requirement but there will be some kind of gradual decrease.

I think a destination casino will be approved for South Florida with a few restrictions. I don't think they will be able to begin play until after 2015 so the state has time to renegotiate with the Seminoles and doesn't lose that money in the short term and I doubt they will be able to run all the games a real casino does, similar to what the Seminoles have now. Instead the state will give the Seminoles exclusivity over types of games like craps and roulette that the destinations won't be able to run for additional payments in an amended compact.

I also see the gaming commission bill being brought up again and possibly passing this time. There has been a lot of talk about going back to a commission and strengthening oversight. Maybe even combining the lottery and pari-mutuel divisions. I could see this happening (and would welcome it).

I'm not sure what is going to happen with slots. I think any expansion will come with increased taxes. They may also increase taxes on the poker rooms.

I don't see anything happening with online gaming; lottery or anything else. Its just hasn't gained any attention.

What they need to do IMO is completely redo Chapter 550. Its just a mess and the reason for most of the problems we have but I don't see that happening.

Either way, it will be interesting.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:30 AM   #41
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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I think a destination casino will be approved for South Florida with a few restrictions. I don't think they will be able to begin play until after 2015 so the state has time to renegotiate with the Seminoles and doesn't lose that money in the short term and I doubt they will be able to run all the games a real casino does, similar to what the Seminoles have now. Instead the state will give the Seminoles exclusivity over types of games like craps and roulette that the destinations won't be able to run for additional payments in an amended compact.
Considering the increase in state revenues projected in the Gambling Impact Study from full-blown casino resorts in S FL, I don't see much advantage to the state to renegotiate exclusivity for the Seminoles for table games. Slot revenues will continue to come in to state coffers beyond 2015 from the Seminole casinos outside S FL under the current compact so long as the parimutuels or other casinos don't get slots (which is why I think that issue would go to voter referendum).

Also, there won't be any need to delay resort casinos until after 2015 as S FL Seminole revenue-sharing continues until the first gaming goes live at a non-Indian casino, so the loss of state revenues there would be offset or exceeded by the new casino revenue taxes. Construction time for the casinos would take it into 2015 in any case.

To make it all work (i.e., increase state revenues), I think they have to go for more than just one destination resort. Three is probably the magic number, all in S FL. They could generate much more state revenue by allowing more such casinos across the state, but I think that wouldn't get approved by the legislature as it is just too much gambling expansion. A destination resort zone in S FL can be seen as mainly a service industry to non-state residents, including non-gaming services (conference, entertainment, etc.). By contrast, casinos in other parts of the state will serve mostly local residents.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:00 PM   #42
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

Today was the last hearing of the year. Nothing really news worthy to report.

The group that owns the Florida Panthers made a presentation with a representative from Boyd Gaming about their desire to build a destination casino right next to where the Panthers play. Seemed odd because it was like a sales pitch.

Also, the comments that were submitted to the state can be found here: http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedCon...nts_Online.pdf.
If you search for "online poker" you will find over 150 comments that all support online poker. There were many more comments that I thought there would be and they are almost entirely in favor of legalization.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:33 AM   #43
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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Also, the comments that were submitted to the state can be found here: http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedCon...nts_Online.pdf.
If you search for "online poker" you will find over 150 comments that all support online poker. There were many more comments that I thought there would be and they are almost entirely in favor of legalization.
Excellent! Great to see that the FL players came through. Hope the lawmakers take note.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:22 PM   #44
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

Just an update to anyone that might care.

Not such great news lately. A lot of the talk around the capital is that nothing is actually going to happen this year because of the upcoming re-election of the governor. It sounds like a lot of legislatures are not really feeling like making a stance and making any major changes this year that they or their party may have to hear about next year. (aren't politics great?) There has been a bill that would reduce the number of greyhound races required to operate a card room that has gone to a committee but even that is not likely to go anywhere.

Still early on but not sounding too good lately that anything will happen, the chances anything involving online poker will happen is even lower if there at all.

I will continue to update as needed.
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:37 PM   #45
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

I just got an email today from an organization called NoCasinos.org. The email had an excerpt from a Tampa Newspaper editorial that was against gambling expansion. The theme of the email was basically "help us stop gambling expansion in FL". It asked me to sign up and share the email with friends.

Don't know what mailing list they got my email from. Maybe property records. Probably not the Tampa Hard Rock mailing list.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:20 PM   #46
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

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I just got an email today from an organization called NoCasinos.org. The email had an excerpt from a Tampa Newspaper editorial that was against gambling expansion. The theme of the email was basically "help us stop gambling expansion in FL". It asked me to sign up and share the email with friends.

Don't know what mailing list they got my email from. Maybe property records. Probably not the Tampa Hard Rock mailing list.
That's the group funded by Disney to fight gambling expansion in Florida.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:20 PM   #47
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

The Senate Gaming Committee met today to discuss the outline of the gambling bill they are working on. The draft was supposed to be finished today but they delayed it for another two weeks at least (more on this below).

Some highlights:
  • The Bill would create a Gaming Control Board that would regulate all gambling in the state other than the lottery.
  • The Bill will move all gambling statutes other than the lottery into an expanded Chapter 551.
  • They would try to amend the constitution to make all future expansions of gaming require a vote.
  • They would update and "modernize" the language for a lot of the pari-mutuel sections.
  • New sections would be added for the possible destination resorts. The Chair was in favor of 2 destinations one in MDC one in Broward but there was not a consensus on this issue.

For an outline of what they were talking about and their intended bill the meeting info is here: https://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedCo...acket_2506.pdf

They were originally supposed to have a draft finished by this meeting but it wasn't done. Instead they discussed things that were not in the bill yet but were being considered. One of these issues was online gambling, specifically online poker. I think there may be another opportunity for us to get some information to this committee if we act in the next few days.

I suggest an e-mail that we send to all members on the committee. Senator Abruzzo supported a bill in 2009 to allow online poker. Senator Richtor and Senator Sachs acknowledge that there is skill in poker (and I think both made a reference to the presentation you gave PX). If we can come up with an e-mail supporting the discussion they had at this meeting and mention some of the things we all know, it could have an effect.

From what I am hearing its still not really likely that this bill goes through this year. Some are seeing this delay as a way to shelf it until next year. Some think its way too much and would never pass even if it is ready and other see it as the bill that we have all been waiting for. Either way, there is an opportunity for the poker community to get into the heads of these people.

Last edited by white_lytning; 02-10-2014 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:19 AM   #48
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

Thanks for the update! The PPA will be involved in some action on this, and TheEngineer will work it into the daily action plan as well. Maybe you (or someone) could provide TheEngineer with some social media contacts for the right politicians.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:27 PM   #49
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

I don't know about social media but I do have e-mail addresses for everyone on the committee. Its all public info so I don't think there is a problem posting it.


Chair: Senator Garrett Richter (R): richter.garrett.web@flsenate.gov
Vice Chair: Senator Maria Lorts Sachs (D): sachs.maria.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Joseph Abruzzo (D): abruzzo.joseph.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R): benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Oscar Braynon, II (D): braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Jeff Clemens (D): clemens.jeff.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Charles S. "Charlie" Dean, Sr. (R): dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Bill Galvano (R): galvano.bill.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Andy Gardiner (R): gardiner.andy.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Jack Latvala (R): latvala.jack.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Tom Lee (R): lee.tom.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Gwen Margolis (D): margolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Bill Montford (D): montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov
Senator John Thrasher (R): thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov

They may have Facebook pages or Twitter or something but I really don't know. I think an e-mail would be more effective anyway. They are expected to have a draft finished around the 17th so time is of the essence if anyone is going to get involved.

It sounds more and more like the constitutional amendment is a demand coming from the House. If we don't get online poker on this bill and the bill does get passed with the amendment it may be a death blow to online poker in Florida for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:12 PM   #50
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Re: Floridians, its time to be active. Let the legislature know how you feel.

Thanks for the info! I'll pass it on. We should see some action plan soon.
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