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Rubio doesn't play when it comes to slots

House Speaker Marco Rubio lamented a new law that paves the way for more slot machines in Broward and said he opposed a potential referendum bringing them to Miami-Dade.

The new law went on the books yesterday when Gov. Charlie Crist -- who has said he opposes the expansion of gambling -- failed to veto it. Bills can become laws without his signature.

"People are being sold (gambling) as a panacea to budget problems, and it has its own costs associated with it,'' Rubio said. "This kind of gaming largely depends on locals, and it's a tax on the poor."

The Miami-Dade County Commission is slated to vote in two weeks whether to ask voters -- for the second time -- whether to let racetracks and jai-alai frontons operate slots. One of Rubio's closest allies, state Rep. David Rivera of Miami, may help run the pro-slots campaign.

"My friends are allowed to have different opinions than I do,'' Rubio said. "I disagree with him, and I hope it fails."