Florida Senate Proposal Would Allow a Casino Built in Broward County
Broward County could be opening at least one Vegas-style casino thanks to a new gambling proposal introduced via the Florida Senate on Monday.
The new proposal would give both Broward and Miami-Dade counties one new casino each, as well as give other casinos across the state a boatload of new slot machines.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, who is chair of the Senate Committee on Gaming. Richter says that the bill is just a starting point and that voters would have final say on any state gambling expansions.
According to the AP, the Senate is proposing three separate bills, including the creation of something called the Department of Gaming Control, which would be a five-member agency that would decide who gets permission to open a casino.
The governor would choose who would be a part of the Department of Gaming Control. Sort of like Nick Fury deciding who gets to be on The Avengers, except much more draconian.
For example, here in Broward, the BB&T Center and the Hollywood Diplomat have both openly shown interest in getting casinos, while bigwigs from Las Vegas have been trying for years to get casinos built in South Florida.
The anti-casino group No Casinos says this new proposal is hogwash.
"It's Christmas in February for out of state gambling interests, and their entire wish list can be found in these bills," No Casinos President John Sowinski said in a statement. "I have yet to find any major provision that isn't there at the request of somebody in the gambling industry."
But gambling has already seeped its way into South Florida, what with Broward and Miami-voters voting YES for slots at horse tracks, dog tracks, and at Dania Jai-Alai.
For now, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is the only one with exclusive rights to certain popular table games such as blackjack. And House Speaker Will Weatherford says any gambling bill that comes through will require some negotiating with the Seminoles.
Weatherford is well-known for being anti-casino, which is why he's emphasizing that things ultimately lie with the will of the people.
Either way, both those who are for casinos and those who are against them have poured in the big dough to get their agendas through.
Which means this is going to be one massive brouhaha when the legislative session begins next week.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.