Is Genting Group Leveraging Florida Gambling Expansion Ballot Initiative to Press Action in Legislative Session?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the Genting Group’s many attempts at expanding gambling in Florida to bring in full scale mega Vegas-style resort casinos.  Most recently Genting was reported to have been greasing the wheels to help ensure a ballot initiative will move forward in the process.  Now, its being reported that they have raised a serious amount of money and could be looking to leverage the threat of a ballot initiative to persuade Florida politicians to pass a bill in session that will have the legislator’s concessions and guidelines included.  The Miami News Times explains:

After Genting Group’s aggressive push to shove gambling down the throat of the Florida legislature this year failed spectacularly, gambling interests have taken a more low key approach to eventually opening the sunshine state to more gaming. They may be looking to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2014, but could also just be using that as a tactical move to force the legislature’s hand.

New Jobs and Revenues for Florida, a political action committee, has raised just under $1 million since it was founded in April. Genting has denied involvement with the group, but most of the groups money has come from Bayfront 2011 Development, LLC or Resorts World Miami, LLC, two Genting connected companies.

 “They’re doing a lot of legal analysis and polling analysis,” No Casinos for Florida President John Sowinski told the paper, “which tells me they’re having a hard time finding something that the voters will have the stomach for.”

Though, Sowinski also theorizes that the threat of a ballot measure could just be used to move the legislature’s hand. The ballot measure could, for instance, provide for a lot less funding for the state than could a deal worked out directly with the legislature.

However, other gambling interests, including Las Vegas Sands, say they still believe the best way to get gambling legalized in Florida is directly though the legislature. A ballot measure would have to be approved by 60 percent of all voters.

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