A bill that would allow Florida poker venues to expand their offerings has hurdled the first step in the long path to becoming law by passing a state senate committee. The bill was sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller and is designed to improve the availability of poker in Florida. Any venue that offers poker would be allowed to offer poker for 18 hours on weekdays, up from 12 hours, and 24 hours on weekends. The bill would also allow high stakes, charity, and celebrity tournaments to be held. The Regulated Industries Committee passed the bill by a wide margin in the 8-2 vote.
High stakes tournaments could be held two times per year at qualified venues. High stakes in this case means up to 1000 players and up to a $10,000 buy-in. The bill allows venues to host up to six charity or celebrity tournaments where a minimum of 70% of the revenue is donated to charity.
The bill still has a very long way to go to become law, having to pass through two more committees before it can be voted upon in the senate. Similar bills have met with trouble in the Florida House, and it remains to be seen how the Florida Senate will react to this bill.