Tampa Bay Times
March 4, 2014
The Legislature appears poised to roll the dice on Florida’s future. This year’s rigged game involves repairing Florida’s gambling laws while opening the door for South Florida destination casinos — and asking voters to change the state Constitution to require statewide voter approval of any future changes. That raises the stakes for this year’s legislative session, and it’s a sucker bet. This state needs to bring order to its existing gambling laws, but the answer is not more gambling.
The casino debate has predictably returned in an election year, and the gambling money is flowing into the re-election campaigns for Gov. Rick Scott and state lawmakers. Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, is promoting 453 pages of gambling legislation that rewrites existing regulations while authorizing two destination casinos in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. It’s being sold as an economic boost, but a legislative report suggests otherwise.
Contact: Michael Joe Murphy