If Florida is going to be home to Las Vegas-style casinos, it has also got to have Las Vegas-style regulations, say the authors of a massive bill to bring resort casinos to South Florida.
That includes creation of a state gaming commission and a rule that casino operators give the state access to almost everything — from bank accounts to marital records, safe-deposit boxes, computers and even their homes.
But, as with every element of this high-stakes debate, a tug-of-war has ensued between the two most powerful international players, Las Vegas Sands and Genting Malaysia. Each wants to use the Florida regulations to put the other at a disadvantage, and each wants to distance itself from the organized-crime elements of the Chinese casinos to keep its regulatory record clean.
The bills expected to be filed this week by state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, and state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, would allow three $2 billion resort casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and create an independent gambling commission patterned after the strict regulatory boards of Nevada and New Jersey.
If approved, the proposals will put everything from horse and dog tracks, jai-alai frontons and poker rooms to Internet cafés, sweepstakes games and full casinos — now regulated by three different state agencies — under a single appointed board. The Florida Lottery would not be regulated by the commission, nor would the Indian tribal casinos, which are not governed by state law. More here.
Photo: Genting principal Colin Au and Architect Bernardo Fort Brescia watch a video as the Genting Group unveils its plans for developing a resort on the Miami Herald site.
PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD STAFF