In an effort to win support and silence critics, the Senate sponsor of the bill to bring resort casinos to Florida wants to let voters approve any new gambling and allow counties outside of Miami Dade and Broward to compete for three mega-casino permits.
The changes to be unveiled Friday by state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, will open the door to the possibility of a resort casino in Tampa Bay or Palm Beach County — provided voters approve and investors spend at least $2 billion. The revised proposal would also allow voters in counties outside Miami Dade and Broward to give slot machines to their horse and dog tracks, and jai alai frontons.
But the measure also attempts to shut the door on the loopholes that have allowed for the proliferation of gambling at Internet cafes, the expansion of pari-mutuels at the Gretna barrel racing track and summer jai alai permits. The measure bans any new pari-mutuel permits, revokes all dormant permits, regulates all Internet Cafes and prevents the opening of any new facilities.
Bogdanoff will ask the Senate Regulated Industries Committee to approve the amendment when the bill comes up for its first vote on Monday, the day before lawmakers convene for their annual 60-day legislative session. More here.