Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing Grenta Slot Machine case that carries tremendous weight and impact on the expanding gambling scene in Florida. The issue at hand involves a voter approved initiative in Gadsden County to allow for slot machines at Gretna Racing track. The problem is that Florida state law makes slot machine operation illegal in Florida except those area where they are expressly and specifically made legal by the legislature. Gadsden County is not an area where slot machines are allowed and it would take either a statewide vote to expand gambling jurisdictions or specific legislation that opens up new parts of the state. The case has worked its way to the Florida Supreme Court and it has severe implications for gambling expansion state wide. The Bradenton Herald explains:
Instead of lawmakers deciding the future of expanded gambling, that decision will now be made by the courts in pending lawsuits before the Florida Supreme Court and a federal judge. The court could conclude lawmakers have no authority to authorize slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties without statewide voter approval, thereby neutering the Legislature’s influence. It could say only the Legislature can decide where to put new games. Or a third option — the most explosive of all and the one the plaintiffs are hoping for — could open the door to unprecedented expansion of slot machines if the court rules Palm Beach and Gadsden counties could seek permits to install slots machines because local voters have approved it.
“It could become a free-for-all for slot machines across the state,” said state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, the House’s chief negotiator who spent the last six months trying to work out a compact with the governor and the tribe, as well as a gaming bill that suited the Senate and the diverse interests of the pari-mutuel industry. “If that happens, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The pari-mutuels across the state will argue they have some vested right to slot machines, and they will fight tooth and nail to make sure their legislators are not voting against them.
Lots of support has been provided to those looking to uphold the very plain and clear language of the law that says these types of slot machine expansion initiatives are simply illegal. Opponents see this as a clear cut case and to ensure all aspects of the cases implications are understood by The Court, No Casinos has been able to submit a friend-of-the-court brief to the Florida Supreme Court. The Herald continues:
The court also on Friday allowed in a friend-of-the-court brief from No Casinos, an anti-gambling expansion group. Gretna Racing’s attorneys had asked for that brief to be tossed out.
“We are pleased that the Court denied the motion of gambling interests who wanted to silence the arguments laid out in our brief,” said No Casinos President *John Sowinski *in a prepared statement. “Now the Court will get a full picture of this critical issue.
“This case is about much more than interpreting a statute,” he said. “This case is about adhering to a principle thoughtfully and deliberately placed in Florida’s constitution to give the people of our state the ultimate authority to decide whether or not to expand gambling in Florida.”
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