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Rubio, not a gambling fan, is staying away from casino debate

Sen. Marco Rubio, who once sued Gov. Charlie Crist over a gambling compact, reaffirmed his opposition to gaming today, but signaled he would likely not get involved in a campaign against the proposed Genting casino in Miami.

"I have my hands full here," Rubio said. "I think people in Florida maybe they’re interested in what my opinion is, once I’m more informed. But I think more importantly they want me focused on what can the federal government to create an environment where more jobs are created."

The Malaysian gambling conglomerate Genting is proposing a 10-million-square foot development and casino at the current Miami Herald site. "

I understand people support it," Rubio told the Buzz. "I understand that destination casinos are a different argument than slot machines at a dog track."

"I always warn people that gambling is not the solution to all of our problems," he said. "Nevada is the gambling mecca of the United States and it has a higher unemployment rate, their housing market is upside down ... they are hurting in Nevada."

But don't look for Rubio to lead the opposition. "I think we have a legislature and we have local governments and we have voters in Florida who can decide that for themselves.

The proposal is being championed by some Republican lawmakers who say it will boost the state economy. The impacts could be huge, advocates say. But Florida has always had a mixed view on gambling. The Florida Chamber of Commerce recently came out against the casino, though said it liked the rest of the Genting development.

-- Alex Leary