Casino Watch Focus reported that two Florida State Senators, Dennis Jones and Maria Sachs, filed legislation to allow five destination casinos throughout the state. The bill was immediately opposed by the pari-mutual industry and the Seminole Tribe was quick to point out that if the bill passed, they would no longer be obligated to pay the state $250 million a year for five years. After some intense political pressure and a key amendment, the Senators pulled the bill. Now, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a new last ditch effort is being made to push Destination Gambling:
A measure by Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, would attempt to bring Las Vegas-style gaming to Florida in the form of huge destination hotels like Las Vegas Sands or Wynn Resorts. The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee Tuesday, but over the objections of several committee members who said there were still many problems with the legislation.
“I think it’s a sad day in Florida when we’ve decided that the way we’re going to fix our economy is to expand gaming,” said state Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami. Lawmakers who supported the bill in the committee said it still needed many changes though before it would be acceptable for a full chamber vote.
Even if the Senate measure were to pass, a companion bill would need to clear the House. The Orlando Sentinel points out that the leadership in the house would not be inclined to pass the pro-gambling bill:
A House companion measure effectively stalled after it was assigned to a committee that House Speaker Dean Cannon, who is anti gaming, later disbanded, meaning its chances of becoming law are still slim.