Gaming draft report released

Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 09:19 AM.

The study acknowledged gambling’s potential social costs, most notably addiction, but said it found these costs “would not change dramatically, especially since gambling opportunities are already widespread across Florida.”

 “Upon systematic examination, the research fails to demonstrate that gambling expansion has changed the prevalence of gambling related problems,” the study said.

It noted research on social cost is limited and the numbers can vary depending on how social cost is defined. The study said long-range studies spanning several years are needed to yield definitive results on gambling’s impact on public health and welfare.

Only the study’s third draft was released Tuesday, though the final report was slated to come out. State officials spent the day sorting through the study’s problems and ultimately concluded to release only the draft report and extend Spectrum’s deadline

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, released a statement, along with the report, at the end of day Tuesday, saying the problems likely would be sorted out by Nov. 1. He said the state economist had asked for some clarifications on the tables in the report, but emphasized lawmakers were not trying to tinker with the numbers.

“The Legislature has not and will not request that any outcomes (in the study) be changed,” he said.

John Guthrie, staff director for the state Senate Gaming Committee, said it was a hectic day as they reviewed the study, and said ultimately Gaetz and state Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, felt it was more important to get it right rather than release the final version by the deadline.

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