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