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Weatherford says House leaders are now on-board for casino expansion now

After years of resistance, the conservative leadership of the Florida House has signaled its willingness to pass legislation that would expand gambling to include new Las Vegas-style casinos in Miami Dade and Broward in exchange for a constitutional amendment that requires voters to approve any new games in the future.

“I would be willing to talk about gaming in the State of Florida, even expansion, in return for contraction in some areas and passing a constitutional amendment,’’ said House Speaker Will Weatherford in an exclusive interview with the Herald/Times on Tuesday.

Weatherford added, however, that for the House to support new casinos there would have to be two strings attached: Gov. Rick Scott would have to negotiate a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe in 2014 — a year before the a key provision is set to expire — and the new casinos would not start up unless a constitutional amendment is passed in November to require voter approval of any subsequent games in the future.

“It’s a trade-off that I’m willing to do,’’ Weatherford said

Weatherford, a Republican from Wesley Chapel, last week told reporters that passing a sweeping gaming bill was not a priority for him this session. However, his statement Tuesday breathes new life into an issue that appeared to be stalled for another year.

It also guarantees that legislators have more time to solicit campaign contributions to their political committees from multi-national casino giants as well as gambling interests in Florida who want their own casinos. Full story here. 

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

The citizens are very angry with this weatherford and his attempt to ruin their family friendly state with these horrible casinos that attract crime drugs and prostitution and harm the most vulnerable poor with their false lures of riches. Please take back this awful concept or the voters will take action to change politicians.

Tom Watkins

Follow the money. All these Tallahassee GOP politicians like Weatherford, Scott and Gaetz are part of the pay to play mentality. They are making deals where they pass legislation for their favorite lobbyists in exchange for generous campaign contributions. This sleazy process by these scumbags has to be stopped and the voters need to send a message to these sleazy scumbag GOP politicians in November.

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