Much-anticipated Casino bill filled in the Florida Legislature

Casino Watch Focus reported that an appellate court ruling in Florida opened the door to the Legislature to pass gambling expansion legislation without a direct vote of the people.  It has been anticipated that a bill would be introduced to allow major destination casinos.  Now the Sun Sentinel online explains:

A long-promised “destination casino” bill was filed Wednesday, allowing three Las Vegas-style operations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and setting the stage for a full-throttle debate about gambling in Florida.

The bill will be one of the most heavily lobbied pieces of legislation during the 2012 legislative session, which starts Jan. 10. Social conservatives, as well as business and tourism groups, are opposed

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, a prime sponsor along with Miami Republican Rep. Erik Fresen, says the measure (HB 487, SB 710) is an attempt to “begin the conversation” about an industry that’s metastasized in recent years.

HB 487/SB 710 would create a new agency to oversee gambling and it would invite developers to offer plans for multi-billion-dollar destination casinos.  The case can still be appealed up to the Florida Supreme Court.  Even if the appellate court decision is upheld, enough pressure can still be put on the Legislature to vote against this expansion.

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