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Florida lawyers hit jackpot, representing gaming interests in Tallahassee

Just last month, Florida’s lawmakers put legislation to legalize destination resort gambling on hold. But even without the mega-casinos, Florida lawyers continue to hit the jackpot, reaping significant business from a gaming industry that promises more growth in the state.

This recent push to approve Las Vegas-style gambling started when Malaysia-based Genting Group, one of the biggest international casino developers, entered Florida in a big way a year ago. It bought the giant waterfront Miami Herald property in downtown Miami for $236 million and announced it wants to build a mega-resort casino on the site.

To accomplish its goal, Genting hired two South Florida law firms for its real estate, zoning and land-use work. At Akerman Senterfitt, managing partner Neisen Kasdin represented Genting in its land acquisitions and continues to handle its land-use, zoning, environmental and permitting needs. “There are still ongoing site development issues,” Kasdin said. Genting also hired Al Dotson and Vicki Garcia-Toledo at Bilzin Sumberg in Miami to handle land-use and development-rights issues related to its downtown Miami property.

Of course, Genting also hired a team of lobbyists across the state to gain approval for casino legislation in Tallahassee. Even though proposed legislation died, Genting’s effort to bring destination resort gambling to Florida has just begun. That means the legislative loss should result in continued work for Florida lawyers as Genting contemplates its next move.

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