State Senate Bill Would Approve 2 South Florida Casinos

A bill was entered into the Florida Senate this week which would allow for the opening of two integrated casinos in South Florida. If the bill were enacted into law, it would also expand slot machine gambling. The bill also proposes to create a new state-level gambling agency to help license and regulate gambling in the state.

It’s still uncertain whether the votes exist to pass such a law. Potential casino laws have been introduced in the past, but they have gone down to defeat. Several political analysts have suggested approval is unlikely to be forthcoming in 2014, though a deal might be workable in 2015, when the next Florida Congress takes over.

Florida Gaming Expansion Sparks Political Battle

Advocates for both sides of the issue are preparing for a major political battle over integrated casino resorts in Florida. In Orlando this week, the anti-gambling group “No Casinos” is meeting to discuss strategy and energize the base of support. No Casinos has been fighting the expansion of gambling in Florida for three decades.

John Sowinski, the head of No Casinos, says the jobs created by the opening of casinos would not be real job creation, because the jobs created would be at the expansion of other jobs in the area. He believes the opening of casinos is a gamble on the part of the Florida electorate.

Disney Corporation against Casino Gambling

No Casinos is not the only group against integrated resorts. The Disney Corporation is aligning itself with anti-gambling groups, because Disney believes casino gambling would damage the family-friendly public image in the eyes of potential tourists of Florida. A spokesman for Disney faxed a statement on behalf of the corporation, which said, “The massive expansion of gambling that would come from legalizing mega-casinos would be a bad bet for Florida’s taxpayers, tourism brand and existing businesses.”

Richard Maladecki, the president of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, says Florida could do without a casino industry. Maladecki suggests that Florida is known worldwide as a place for a vacation, so integrated casinos would be superfluous. He said, “Florida is already known worldwide. Orlando is already known worldwide. Why do we need to bring in the expansion of gambling?”

Spectrum Gaming Group Report

The Florida State Legislature commissioned a report from Spectrum Gaming Group on the pros and cons last year. Spectrum later presented lawmakers with a comprehensive 700-page report. Florida Representative Jeff Gaetz likened the report to an “inkblot”, saying people on both sides of the issue could stare at the report and make what they wanted of it. With sides drawn up on these issues for decades, that was perhaps inevitable.

Complications involving Seminole Gaming Interests

Expanding gambling in the wrong way could be a financial hardship for Floridians. The current agreement with the Seminole Tribe ends in the year 2015. Until then, the Seminoles have the right to run all gaming machines outside of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, while also operating banked casino card games. The deal provided Florida with $1 billion over a 5 year period (ending in 2015).

Due to that prior agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the government would have to pay the Seminoles a significant amount of cash, if a new deal which affected Seminole revenues. Integrated casinos in Miami-Dade County and Broward County presumably would not affect the deal, so proponents go ahead with plans for South Florida casinos. These would be the “integrated” casinos, which means they would include a gaming floor, at least one hotel, restaurants, convention areas, and shopping areas.

Delaware and Nevada Inch Closer to Agreement

Meanwhile, the states of Nevada and Delaware are moving closer to combining their player signup lists for online gambling. If the two U.S. states worked together in this way, it would create a legal framework for Internet poker players from both states to compete against one another.

Both states enacted laws in the past couple of years (Delaware in 2012, Nevada in 2013) to legalize online poker and casino gambling in their states. Their laws allow land-based gaming interests to expand online. Due to the small popular of the state, Delaware’s three racetrack operations which went online have registered only a small number of players. Adding Nevada’s poker playing community would be a major coup.

At the same time, Nevada would add new players, while setting a trend which could balloon into a major gaming network as online betting expanded throughout the United States. Ten U.S. states are currently considering creating laws to allow online gambling, while the state of New Jersey also began licensing casinos and poker sites in November 2013. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delawae Governor Jack Markell signed legislation on Tuesday which made the plan official.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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