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Miami mayor: If Florida approves high-end casinos, give city power to tax them

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado wants his city to have the power to tax and license high-end, Las Vegas-style casinos that could be coming to his city with Genting's massive purchase of land in downtown Miami.

On Tuesday, Regalado asked Miami's five commissioners to sign off on a resolution asking state lawmakers to give the city that taxing and license authority if Tallahassee approves "destination resorts." State Rep. Erik Fresen of Miami and state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale, both Republicans, have already said they plan to file legislation allowing the casinos.

"The resolution is not in support of gaming," Regalado said. "The resolution is just in case gaming and casinos are approved."

Commissioners deferred the mayor's proposal until next month, saying they want more time to find out what state lawmakers plan to propose -- and what requests the city could make of them.

"I have some issues on the whole gambling issue," Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones said.

Regalado and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff cited Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is pushing for municipalities to have more control -- and get more money from -- casinos within their borders. Sarnoff said lawmakers should even consider putting any casinos to a vote in a citywide referendum.

"We need to have as much input in Tallahassee as possible, because if we simply do nothing, very well it may pass without our ability to say something about it," he said.