Casino Watch Focus reported that with Gov Scott’s position on gambling coming into question, Florida State Senator Dennis Jones has put forth legislation to consider Vegas style designation gambling casinos. Now the St Petersburg Times is reporting that two companies pitched ideas to the Senate Regulation Industries Committee:
Andy Abboud of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Michael Britt of Wynn Casinos presented a glossy slideshow of their properties to members of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. The Las Vegas Sands has been on a two-year crusade to bring its resort-style casinos and convention space to Miami. Miami is “underserved by convention and trade show space,” Abboud said, but added “we’re open to the entire state.”
Under the proposal being pushed by Sands, the state would allow for exclusive operation of five casinos within a 75-mile radius. Voters in each of the regions would have to approve the casino and then a five-member commission would choose which casino operator gets the bid. The casinos would pay a $50 million application fee and be taxed at a rate lower than the state’s parimutuels, which now pay 35 percent of their earnings.
Both companies realize they need Senator Jones’ legislation to pass and they must offer up plans that are far more aggressive and large scale than what the state is allowing currently. As part of their efforts, the companies have increased their political presence by joining key groups and hiring well connected gambling lobbyist:
The Sands has hired six lobbyists and paid an undisclosed amount to become a member of Associated Industries of Florida, whose president Barney Bishop is now lobbying on behalf of destination gambling resorts. Wynn Casinos has hired Al Cardenas and two members of his lobbying team, including Lanny Wiles, a former aide to Gov. Rick Scott. Genting Berhad, the growing Malaysian casino giant, is in negotiations to hire a lobbyist who works with another Scott aide, Chris Kise.