Casino Watch Focus previously reported on the new gambling expansion plan in Florida. But you can help make a difference. Please visit the Casino Watch Florida Gambling Expansion Alert page for more details
Monthly Archives: April 2009
Urgent: ‘ADDICTING FAMILIES FOR DOLLARS’ – Florida’s new gambling expansion plan that you can help stop
Casino Watch Focus previously reported that the FL legislature, being pushed by Gov Crist, was examining two proposals to expand gambling in the state of FL. Neither proposal seemed very good for the people of the state and it appears the legislature agreed. Because Gov Crist was unsuccessful in passing the legislation, he has now put forth a new and last minute proposal that he hopes will provide the compromises needed to get the legislation passed by Friday, the last day of Florida’s legislative session. An internet article reports:
The new agreement would give the Seminoles exclusive rights to offer blackjack and slot gambling outside of South Florida, but would make several concessions to pari-mutuel establishments worried about being forced to compete with the Seminole facilities.
Existing gambling establishments at pari-mutuel facilities in South Florida would see poker limits raised, …extended opening hours and be allowed to have ATMs on the casino floor.
If a deal is not struck between the Seminoles and the FL legislature, a legal challenge will most likely follow. The article continues:
But behind the scenes a frenzied lobbying effort is being undertaken to broker a deal which will leave both sides satisfied.
The Florida legislative session ends next Friday, but if the legislature does not affirm the legality of the Seminole’s blackjack operations before then, there is likely be a heavyweight legal challenge to shut down their gaming operations in a Federal court, mounted by the Florida House of Representatives through the office of the Speaker.
Frantic public relations efforts are now underway to pave the way for a new agreement, whatever its final form.
The Miami Herald is reporting the specifics of a new FL House Bill aimed at expanding gambling as a means to generate extra money for the state:
Amid warnings that expanding gambling is not a good bet for the state this year, a House committee passed a scaled-back Indian gaming bill Friday. The House select committee on tribal gaming voted 17-1 Friday to give the Seminole Tribe the exclusive right to operate Class III slot machines at its seven casinos in Florida in return for $100 million a year.
As previously reported by Casino Watch Focus, Class III ‘bingo’ slot machines are virtually identical to their normal and addictive counterparts, the traditional cherry master slot machines. The Senate’s proposal is even worse in terms of expanded gambling. The Miami Herald continues:
The House’s gambling plan is a stark contrast to a Senate plan which passed out of its first committee last week. The Senate has proposed giving the tribe full casinos, including craps and roulette, lowering the tax rate on slots at horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons, and giving ”racinos” — race tracks that have slot machines — card games such as blackjack. The agreement also would give parimutuels outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties bingo-style, Class II slot machines.
State economists reported that the proposal would not generate the kind of revenue expected and would actually be harmful to the state:
State economists this week shot down predictions by the Senate and governor that the Senate plan would produce $1 billion in new revenue and help close Florida’s $3 billion budget gap.
Instead of $1 billion, economists predicted the Seminole’s full casinos would produce about $400 million a year. They also said the proposal to reduce the tax rate on parimutuels while giving them new games would result in a net loss in taxes to the state.
”It’s very sobering,” said Galvano. “It’s a recognition that whatever we’re doing shouldn’t be a rush to judgment… Any of these changes are going to be slow coming and the money we do have is not going to be anywhere close to the $1 billion.”