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Casino debate may be dead, but it's changed Miami landscape

The bill to bring casino gambling to South Florida may be dead for now, but the issue has reshaped the region’s business landscape in ways likely to last for years.

Nine months after Genting stunned Miami with its $236 million purchase of prime waterfront land and launched a divisive debate over the future of South Florida’s economy, interviews with advocates on both sides reveal much has changed.

Miami gained a major new player on its corporate roster: Genting, the Malaysian-based casino giant that now can claim one of the largest commercial real estate holdings in Miami. Business groups and community leaders picked sides on an issue that has been percolating for years, while South Florida itself quickly emerged as a potential powerhouse in the increasingly competitive casino market.

Here’s a look at the legacy — for now — of South Florida’s casino battle:

Lines finally drawn on casinos: In recent years, Las Vegas Sands and Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau pushed efforts to loosen Florida’s gambling laws to allow casinos beyond Indian lands, racetracks and jai-alai frontons. As early as 2008, aides to Boca Raton developer Art Falcone were organizing a lobbying effort to allow a casino on a downtown Miami site he owns. More here.

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