Though bills to allow casino gambling have been repeatedly defeated in the past, some Florida legislators believe the state’s ailing economy may make this the year that resort-style gambling will at last come to the state, according to The Miami Herald
State Rep. Erik Fresen and State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, both Republicans, plan to introduce legislation in the next two weeks that would create three new licenses to operate casinos in South Florida. Fresen sees casino gambling as an opportunity to bring up to $6 billion to the local economy — money the state badly needs.
“If we weren’t in double-digit unemployment and a receding economy, I don’t think there would be much appetite for this bill,” said Fresen. “But, in this economy, it’s almost an obligation to discuss it.”
Currently in the state, gambling is only allowed on Seminole Tribe property and there is no private-sector competition, something for which Bogdanoff believes “the time has come.”
Should the bill pass, it’s expected that Malaysian-based casino company Genting Malaysia Berhad — who has already purchased a 13.9 acre waterfront site on Biscayne Bay for a planned $3 billion resort — along with Wynn Resorts, Caesars Palace, and the Last Vegas Sands will vie for licenses.
All four companies have already retained high-profile lobbyists to plead their case with state lawmakers.
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