Florida legislators are inking their budget deal today that includes cuts to public schools, nursing homes, hospitals and county public health departments but they have found $400,000 for a gaming study of the "revenues derived, the expenses incurred and the potential benefit for Florida from destination resorts and horse racing."
Destination resorts is another name for resort-style casinos that a handful of Las Vegas casino operators want to bring to Florida. The concept was the content of a bill that was heard in the House and the Senate but which failed to pass. House sponsor, Rep. Erik Fresen, said he hopes the study will help pave the way for a bill next year.
"We hope a $400,000 study will result in the impetus I need to pass this that will result in tens of millions of dollars to the state in the future,'' said Fresen, R-Miami.
Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, agreed that the measure was also important to Senate leaders. "Some think it would have a very positive impact on the state and without a definitive study on it, we won't know,'' he said.