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Pari-mutuels present case to Senate gaming panel

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said that despite help that the Legislature has provided to pari-mutuels over the years the industry is still struggling. Photo by Bruce Ritchie.

Representatives of Florida’s pari-mutuel industry touted their businesses as economic drivers that are part of the state’s history but acknowledged to a Senate panel Tuesday the long-term economic trends are not in their favor.

They noted increased competition from the state Lottery, Seminole casinos, Internet sweepstakes cafés and gambling “cruises to nowhere.” Those challenges, along with a general decline in wagering on greyhound and horse races and jai alai games that began in the 1980s, are threatening the economic viability of pari-mutuels, they said.

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