The results of a $400,000 gaming study commissioned by the Florida Legislature, as a precursor to a debate next session about expanding gambling, produced predictable results and was a "waste of money,'' several members of the Senate Democratic caucus said on Tuesday. Download Spectrum Gaming Group 3rd draft
"It just confirms whatever your already held opinion was,'' said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. "It's not going to change anybody's mind."
Clemens and Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami, said the decision by Senate Republican leaders to hire Spectrum Gaming Group was a poor use of state resources and they raised doubts about the expenditure of money for a four-city statewide tour to conducted by the House and Senate Gaming Committees later this month, to get local community input on expanded gambling.
Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Sunny Isles, noted that the committee will be traveling to Coconut Creek in Broward County, Lakeland, Pensacola and Jacksonville but won't come to Miami-Dade, where Genting, one of the largest casino operators, has already purchased property with the hopes of bringing a resort casino to downtown Miami.
"People are really bent out of shape that it's coming to their community,'' Margolis said. Miami-Dade residents should not have to "drive one to two hours to some place in West Broward that I wouldn't even know how to find,'' she said.
Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale and chairman of the caucus, last week asked Senate leaders to consider holding a hearing in Miami-Dade and they have not as yet agreed to change the dates.