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Senate committee hears pros, cons of expanded gaming

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Updated: 11/15/2013 8:17 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Senate Committee on Gaming wrapped up its series of public workshops on the gaming issue. Now the committee has the work of deciding how to revamp the state’s gaming laws.

Dozens of people of people on both sides of the issue gave their thoughts on whether to add more casinos and gaming halls across the state.

"Casinos don't come to an area in a vacuum, they affect and infiltrate and they require community resources,” said Jodi Byrd, who traveled from Panama City for the hearing.

Others disagreed, saying they don’t see the harm.

"Are they going to stop Florida Lotto where you go in the convenience store where beers are sold and cigarettes are sold,” said Michael Vance of Yulee. “You don't have that atmosphere in the gaming rooms."

Sen. John Thrasher of St. Augustine sits on the committee. He’s not sure expanded gaming is needed in Florida.

"Some people think that as long as they're contained om existing license facilities that might be OK,” Thrasher said. “We'll have a conversation about that and it will be a rigorous conversation."

Lawmakers will likely vote on the gaming issue in some form or fashion early next year. 

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