Florida's Mega Casinos
Once a dream by many to see three mega-casinos built in South Florida, now they won't be seeing the light of day for while. The proposal was presented in the Florida State legislature earlier this year but was defeated by mounting opposition. Now it looks like it will be on the back burner for quite some time or until politicians put it back up for debate if they get enough interest once again, which they know they will. With that much casino money on the tables in a state that needs cash, it's sure to be back in full force.
- There are some major casino operators that would like to see this proposal reach the light of day once again. For example, Genting Berhad, a Malaysian conglomerate that bought bayfront property in Miami and was planning on building a massive resort.
- Once they purchased the property they also spent a lot of money on political contributions and paid for lobbyists in the Florida Capitol. The good news is that once this bill is approved the casinos will be required to bring in $2 billion in investment capital to their projects.
- The mission was to convince lawmakers that the casinos would help create thousands of jobs and contribute much needed cash to the tax coffers in the state.
- But it looks like they may have tried a little to hard and simply made it sound too good to be true; as some politicians like Dan Gelber, a former member of the State House and the South Florida chairman of "No Casinos", an advocacy group was out to fight the bill. He claims, "There was a lot of deception in how they sold it initially," Mr. Gelber said. "They said it was not an expansion of gambling, yet they are building the largest casino in the world, and they are saying it's not going to change the texture of our quality of life."
- Everyone still agrees this is just "round one" of the debate and that it will only stay quiet and to withdraw the bill, so that its relevance won't die, then they can continue the conversation when there is not such a conservative legislature.
- Once the federal election is over and the New Year starts it's sure to come back into the Capitol. But when it does come back there will be more interested parties involved including layers of special interest groups.
- Some of these groups that want to have their say are the Seminole tribe, which runs several large casinos in the state; the "racinos," or racetrack-gambling parlors in South Florida, which also wants equal treatment.
- Then there are the tourism titans and large out-of-state casino companies. All these groups have the money and the lobbying power to have their words count and their presence felt in the Capitol. And believe it, they all want revisions in the bill that would fit their needs.
- Next time lawmakers see this bill there surely be more moving parts since the last time. One of the main issues will be to bring more regulation and oversight to the Florida gaming industry.
- There will eventually be two bills, one in the Senate and one in the House.
- This would further complicate the issue and considering that the Senate bill really will expand gambling in the state.
- Overall, it gets more complicated as this debate goes on over the Mega Casinos in Florida which will surely be back in 2013 to give it another go in the Capitol.