Earlier this year there was a hope that Florida would soon have more places to play blackjack. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case. In fact, a massive gambling expansion throughout the state won’t be happening.
Florida House and Senate negotiators worked for months to create a comprehensive gambling expansion bill. Negotiations were recently scrapped when the Legislature ended its annual 60-day session without a deal.
The comprehensive gambling bill would have done a lot for Florida gamblers. At least one new casino would have committed to building in South Florida. If approved, the bill would have allowed race tracks to actually stop offering races and operate only as a casino. Essentially, this could have created many more dedicated casinos, instead of combined racinos (race track casino).
The biggest part of this bill is that it would have allowed the Seminole Tribe to offer craps and roulette. By allowing the Tribe to deal those games other casinos would have been allowed to deal blackjack. As it stands now, blackjack remains with the Seminole Tribe.
There are no plans on blackjack expanding to the seven existing racetrack casinos. The bill would have allowed new casinos to offer blackjack as well. Those new casinos will be put on the shelf for now. After all, what is a casino without blackjack?
The breakdown in negotiations will be more than just slowing construction on two new casinos. The gaming expansion might put an end to potential expansion at Gulfstream Park and the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa.
Smaller Scale Gambling Expansion
There could still be some kind of expanded gambling in Florida. Unfortunately, this won’t include blackjack. Local voters approved slot machines in Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington counties. The Florida Supreme Court must now decide whether pari-mutuel facilities can add slot machines in these counties without the permission of the Legislature.
Gambling expansion in Florida could be stuck with politicians for awhile. There are a lot of small pieces to work on moving forward. This failed effort tried to combine a lot of the issues and would have accomplished a lot for gamblers and casino operators. There shouldn’t be much movement in the future beyond local pari-mutuel racetracks possibly adding slot machines.
Until there’s a great expansion you can enjoy blackjack with the Seminole Tribe casinos until 2030.