Bondi Unmoved by Sands' Criticism of Casino Position

By: Jim Turner | Posted: December 13, 2011 2:25 PM
Pam Bondi

Attorney General Pam Bondi | Photo: Marcus Joseph

A critical letter from Las Vegas Sands isn’t going to deter Attorney General Pam Bondi from her stance in opposition to the expansion of gaming in Florida.

Bondi joined the anti-gaming effort with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, working under the No Casinos umbrella, on Dec. 8 to publicly express her opposition to the gaming bill now before legislators that would allow three mega-casinos in the state.

In response, Sands Vice President Andy Abboud fired off a letter to Bondi, released Monday, claiming Florida would be better served by the regulations that come with the casinos than the current state of gaming as it expands across the state.

Bondi wasn’t moved.

"While I appreciate a vigorous debate,” Bondi stated in a release late Monday, “nothing in Sands' letter alters my belief that Florida needs less gambling, not more; that the introduction of mega-casinos in South Florida would inevitably lead to expanded casino gambling statewide; and that the law enforcement community's opposition to casino gambling is well-founded."

The bills, HB 487 and SB 710, filed by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, call for the creation of a statewide gaming commission and allow up to three mega-casinos that would each be worth more than $2 million.

In his letter, Abboud argued that because of the regulation on casinos “you will find that there may have been more enforcement actions against banks and other financial institutions than casinos.”

Bondi said her decision to support the opposition to the bills grew from talks with law enforcement that linked gaming with crime.

“In Hillsborough County, many of the last drug-trafficking cases that they made, the money was laundered through the casino,'' she said on Dec. 8. “So that is a prime way to launder money in illegal drug cases.”

She would later say the case she was referring to involved the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa.

The laundering comment drew an immediate response from the Seminole Tribe of Florida claiming they “cooperate fully in all federal, state and local law enforcement investigations.”

"No illegal activities are condoned or allowed at Seminole casinos, which closely follow federal anti-money laundering rules by reporting all suspicious incidents to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which is then responsible for alerting appropriate law enforcement agencies."


Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or (772) 215-9889.


Comments (1)

grace GSNP
5:56PM DEC 14TH 2011
Re: "Bondi said her decision to support the opposition to the bills grew from talks with law enforcement that linked gaming with crime."

There is so much crime in other "businesses". Fraud in medical many billions taken at taxpayer expense. You COULD do so much to stop that - NOT that difficult. So don't give "gaming brings crime" EXCUSE.

If that's your only argument - it's weak. Why don't you focus on Florida FRAUD in Medicair/Medicaid/Social-Security. Seminoles have a monopoly on gaming - don't they also have "online" gambling? And they govern their own casinos. Why NO State Gaming Commission???
I'm surprised you don't want a million jobs [or more] that Vegas-Beach-Casinos would bring. Seminoles NEED competition. They want more [extended] 15 year monopoly promise for NO competition - Tell me again about GREED. You did not mention that. NO one governs Seminoles for "honest" play.

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