Slot Machine Expansion Halted by Florida Supreme Court

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand gambling in Florida by expanding slot machines in various jurisdictions. Many areas around Florida have looked to pass voter referendums to allow slot machines, and in several places, they passed. The problem? There was no explicit allowance by the government to allow gambling in those jurisdictions. Those communities argued the referendum was enough, but now the Florida Supreme Court has weighted in on the matter. An online source explains:

A Florida Supreme Court decision that could have resulted in a sweeping expansion of slot machines across the state, including in Palm Beach County, has instead restricted them to Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where they are already in place.

The decision means that pari-mutuels in Broward and Miami-Dade counties that already have slots, such as Mardi Gras and Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach and Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, will continue to have them. But at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, which has long sought to get in on the casino action, the blinking lights and whirling sounds of the one-armed bandits will remain out of reach.

The Supreme Court case stemmed from an attempt to open slot machines at a racetrack in Gretna, a small town in Gadsden County, along the border with Georgia at the start of the Panhandle. Like Palm Beach and six other counties, citizens of Gadsden had voted to approve slot machines

The Gretna racetrack owners argued that such a county referendum allowed slots without the approval of state law. But in a 6-0 decision, the Florida Supreme Court ruled otherwise. “There must be ‘statutory or constitutional authorization’ for any countywide referendum approving slot machines at qualifying pari-mutuel facilities,” wrote Justice Charles Canady in his 16-page opinion. “The authorization must be found elsewhere in the law. And it is nowhere to be found.”

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