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Gambling interests send nearly $5 million to legislators

No legislator is immune when it comes to the influence of the gambling industry in Florida.

All 160 members of the Florida Legislature have either accepted a campaign check from the industry or benefited from its contributions to their parties. In the 2006-08 election cycle alone, horse and dog tracks, jai alai frontons and the Seminole Indian Tribe gave nearly $5 million to legislators and political parties -- more than double the $2.2 million gambling interests contributed to lawmakers in the previous election.

Some legislators have worked closely with the industry or have allies who do. And in every corner of the state, ailing parimutuels are promising something lawmakers are hungry for in this perilous economy: new jobs -- if legislators give them new games.

In the coming weeks, lawmakers will decide between two very different proposals to change the face of gambling at Florida's tracks, frontons and Indian casinos, a decision potentially worth millions of dollars. Full story here.

Here's a partial list of who's sending money to legislators:

Mardi Gras Gaming, Hollywood: $1.2 million

Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hollywood: $640,000

Palm Beach Kennel, West Palm Beach: $434,000

Jacksonville Greyhound Track: $379,000

Gulfstream Park race track, Hallandale: $312,000

Pompano Park racing, Pompano: $301,300

Derby Lane of Tampa: $121,000

Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Ocala: $168,000

Richmond Entertainment of Jasper: $115,000

Racing Corp. of W.Va.: $96,000

Calder Race Course, Miami Gardens: $84,500

International Game Technology, Reno, Nev.: $40,000

DNC Gaming, Delaware: $25,000

AC Coin and Slot service, New Jersey: $17,500

World Touch Gaming, Georgia: $17,240

Miami Jai Alai: $13,500

Flagler Dog Track, Miami: $11,500

Racing Corp. of So. Fla.: $10,000

WMS of Waukegan, Ill.: $10,000

Total 4.879 million

Gambling industry contributors to legislators and political parties, 2006-2008

Source: Florida Division of Elections