As Gov. Rick Scott ramps up his re-election bid, he wants his legacy to be the state's declining unemployment rate and jobs, but the next few months could shape his message on a more controversial issue: gambling.
Will the state renew or expand the Seminole Tribe's monopoly on blackjack and other casino-style table games? Should the state allow slot machines in communities, like Palm Beach and Naples, whose voters have approved them at their racetracks? Will casino giants Genting and Las Vegas Sands be allowed to build a resort casino on the shores of Biscayne Bay or in Broward County?
Because it's an election year, most observers believe the governor will avoid finding answers.
The issues don't lend themselves to 30-second campaign spots and pressure is mounting for lawmakers to postpone a decision on the most controversial gambling ideas until next year. Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, is already lowering expectations.
"If an election year has any influence, it could influence the magnitude of what's undertaken,'' he told the Times/Herald. He suggested that a modest bill that tightens loopholes may get passed with everything else shuttled to another year. Story here.