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Rene Garcia's summer vacation -- at Genting's Singapore casino

Resorts World Singapore State Sen. Rene Garcia spent his summer vacation doing research — at one of the World’s largest gambling resorts in Singapore.

“I loved it,’’ said Garcia, a Hialeah Republican and a likely “yes” vote for legislation to bring Las Vegas-style casinos to South Florida. He spent one week and more than $6,100 of his own money to make the lengthy trip to Asia in August to experience Genting’s flagship casino.

Garcia produced receipts that show he was charged $4,398 in airfare and $1,765 for his hotel at Genting’s Resorts World at Senosa, where he stayed Aug. 6-11.

Garcia was one of several business and community leaders invited to visit the company’s sprawling theme park and casino resort in the heart of Singapore. Legislators are prohibited by state ethics laws from accepting gifts and trips, civic leaders are not.

Genting said they have given complimentary trips to civic leaders in Miami-Dade, including Jack Lowell, chairman of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development arm, and Bernie Navarro, president of the Latin Builders Association.

“These visits are an opportunity to experience first-hand the quality of Genting’s properties, as well as the significant economic impacts that Destination Resorts can bring to Florida,’’ said Jessica Hoppe, general counsel for Resorts World.

The company is one of a handful of major casino operators who are hoping to persuade the Florida legislature next year to change state law and allow for Las Vegas style casinos tucked inside sprawling tourist resorts that include retail, convention and entertainment facilities. More here.