Florida Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Massive Slot Machine Expansion

Orlando, FL – The Florida Supreme Court ruling in the Gretna Racing, LLC v. Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation case prevents the worst-case scenario of a sudden and massive expansion of casino gambling in our state. The court ruled in favor of the State, maintaining the position that current law does not allow for slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

“The good news is there will not be thousands of slot machines coming to Florida without further action by the legislature,” said John Sowinski, President of No Casinos. The court did not resolve another issue raised by No Casinos and former Governor Bob Graham, and that is whether the Florida Constitution allows for casino-style gambling on non-tribal lands outside of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

In the Gretna case, a pari-mutuel in Gadsden County sued the state after being denied a permit to offer slot machines, arguing that the wording of a statute written to allow slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward counties also entitled them to install slot machines at their facility.  A victory for Gretna would have allowed pari-mutuels in other counties to convert to large-scale slots casinos.

As it now stands, the decision keeps slot machines limited to Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where they were approved by a razor-thin margin in a 2004 statewide referendum, and in tribal casinos as called for in a gambling compact between the state and Seminole Tribe of Florida.

“We scored a partial victory with this ruling today and intend to score a complete victory with the Voters in Charge initiative in 2018,’’ said No Casinos President John Sowinski. “The people of Florida should have the final say on whether or not to legalize casino-style gambling. Our state’s history shows that without this bright line, the result will be more of what we have been seeing in recent legislative sessions – gambling interests will continue spending unprecedented sums on lobbyists, lawyers and campaign contributions in an attempt to turn Florida into the next Atlantic City.”

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