A lobbyist for an international casino operator that wants to expand into Florida called Monday for the state to create a strong gaming commission that would oversee all gambling --- including one destination resort casino in South Florida.
However, Nick Iarossi, the lobbyist for Las Vegas Sands Corps., told members of the Senate Gaming Committee that proposed sales tax rates suggested in a new study on the future of gaming in Florida could hinder the construction of such a world class complex.
Florida’s Senate Gaming Committee held its first public workshop recently to hear local perspectives about the future of gambling in the state as well as the potential social and economic impact expanded gaming would have on South Florida.
Early last year, state lawmakers shot down a bill to allow major casinos in South Florida. But now they’re reconsidering that decision, and possibly changing other state laws on gambling --- and that has plenty of people concerned.
A massive expansion of gambling throughout Florida could boost state coffers by $1 billion a year instead of a $22 million loss previously estimated, authors of a gaming study told a Senate committee on Monday.
A $400,000 gambling report will be delayed because it is too confusing and needs to be reviewed for accuracy, according to Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples.
The final portions of a three-part study by Spectrum Gaming Group were due to the Legislature on Tuesday, the same day executives at the New Jersey-based gambling research firm asked for another 30 days to complete the study conducted with its partner Regional Economic Models Inc., or REMI.
Florida's gambling future won’t be settled in the 2013 session of the Florida Legislature -- and maybe not even in the one after that.
The divide between competing stakeholder visions remains very wide. And, at a hearing before the Florida Senate Gaming Committee on Tuesday, chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said it could be 18 months before the work on developing legislation even begins.
"I want to do something deliberative and thoughtful," Richter told reporters after the meeting.
The proposal to build mega-casinos in South Florida never made it to a final vote in the last session of the Florida Legislature. Now it looks like the issue may not be coming up again for at least another year.
Senate President Don Gaetz is setting up a new committee to examine Florida gambling which he says is both over- and under-regulated. But Gaetz is considered an opponent of gambling and he's in no hurry to pass a casino gambling bill.