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Proposed Florida bill would allow for expansion of gambling. What are the chances it will pass?

Bill would allow for gambling expansion
Bill would allow for gambling expansion 02:26

TALLAHASSEE -- A new bill introduced in the Florida legislature could open the door to more casinos in South Florida.

To understand the newest bill, it's important to understand what's already law.

"The 2021 compact gave the Seminoles a number of different things: In-person sports betting, online sports betting (and) craps roulette," said Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern. "And as part of the deal, the Seminoles agreed to increase their monthly payout to the state, but they also agreed that they would not raise any objections to any casinos, for lack of a better term, that would be built in South Florida so long as those new facilities were at least 15 miles from their gambling hub in in Hollywood." 

 It's a provision Jarvis says was put in intentionally.

"As it turns out, both Doral and Fontainebleau are just past 15 miles from the Seminoles and it has always been thought that that provision was put into the compact to appease Donald Trump because Donald Trump is the owner of Doral," he said. "Jeffrey Soffer, whose family owns the Fontainbleau, has wanted to have gaming operations at the Fontainbleau forever."

The new legislation, known as SB 1054, says gaming permit holders should be allowed to transfer their licenses to new locations within a 30-mile radius.

But the measure has drawn some opponents.

" I don't think that we need it," said former Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. "Our economy is thriving, people are coming here, and we have a wonderful hospitality industry. All casinos do is cannibalize everybody else to usually just the benefit of a single person or business."

Gelber, who left office after hitting term limit, has fought against gambling expansion in Florida for decades.

"The second thing that bill does (is) it would preempt local governments from trying to stop it," he said. "So no matter what our residents said."

Jarvis wants to make it extra clear, he believes this is a political move.

"It's particularly difficult for a gambling bill to get passed, and so this is more of a publicity stunt than anything else," Jarvis said.

If the bill does pass, it would likely be bottled up in litigation for years.

CBS News Miami reached out to the Fontainebleau and the state senator who authored the bill for comment but did not immediately receive comment. 

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