01/28/2002 1:00AM

VLT's proposed in Florida

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A bill that would legalize video lottery terminals at Florida racetracks has been introduced in the state Senate, although opposition in the state to expanded gambling remains strong.

Sen. Steve Geller, a pro-gambling Republican who represents Hallandale, where Gulfstream Park is located, introduced the bill last week. The legislation would allow video lottery machines at the 26 horse tracks, greyhounds tracks, and jai alai frontons in the state, including Gulfstream, Calder Race Course, and Tampa Bay Downs.

Supporters of the legislation say the machines would raise at least $500 million a year for education, helping to shore up the state's financial situation. In December, Florida legislators took $1 billion off the 2002 budget because of anticipated revenue shortfalls.

Gov. Jeb Bush has been a staunch opponent of expanded gambling, and last year he said that he would veto any gambling bills that were passed by the legislature.