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New Florida senate committee on gaming holds first meeting

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The Florida Senate Gaming Committee held its first official meeting this week. The committee’s chair, Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples) expressed the importance of gaming in Florida.

Florida’s Chief Economist Amy Baker gave the committee a look at the history of gaming in the state. Baker said one of the nation’s first greyhound tracks opened in Hialeah, Fla., in 1921. She also discussed the Florida Lottery and the compact with the Seminole tribe.

“We believe that it’s important for policymakers to grasp the challenges that have occurred and formulate coherent regulations to help ensure that gaming industries contribute positively to the state’s overall economy and its social welfare,” Richter said.

Richter said that he hopes to work with the House to request a study of the gaming industry. He said this will help committee members to better understand the impact of gaming on the state.

“Going forward, as we try to collect meaningful information, my goal for this committee is to get information prepared for us that can enable us to make a decision,” Richter said.

The committee meets again next week. Richter said he hopes to have all of the details of the study worked out in the next few weeks.

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