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What Happens to Gambling If Charlie Crist Wins?

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: April 11, 2014 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ

This should be an interesting rest-of-the-year in Florida for gambling -- the issue that's supposed to be as dead as a head on a King's Landing pike. Look again. Gambling is very much alive.

We're in an election year, after all. The folks who want to see more than just Seminole gaming  are insulating themselves from controversy now, while they're campaigning, but they want gambling decided sooner rather than later.

Why? In case Charlie Crist  retakes the governor's office.

It isn't so much they think Charlie will oppose more Las Vegas-style gaming as it is they don't know what he'll do. Who ever does? Charlie adds and subtracts policy as he goes, depending on who he's talking to and what they want to hear. Chances are, he won't know himself until he tests the direction of the wind. As one Senate Gaming Committee member told me fearfully, "The problem is, somebody will be telling Charlie what to do and it won't be us."

Lobbyist Brian Ballard said Thursday that neither gubernatorial candidate -- the Republican incumbent Rick Scott nor the Democrat, former Gov. Crist -- likes the idea of gambling for Florida. "But they both have a libertarian point of view about it, and I doubt either is inclined to stand in the way."

Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers aren't so convinced. The scuttlebutt is this: We can't hang around waiting to find out what Charlie is going to do. 

I don't need a crystal ball to predict that if Charlie Crist wins, and Scott can complete a new compact with the Seminole Tribe by November, lawmakers will return for a special session on gaming, to finish what they started this year -- legalize two Las Vegas-style casinos in South Florida -- add a referendum element maybe -- reform greyhound tracks to report animal injuries and discourage live races, and create a five-member Gaming Control Board appointed by the governor.

No way are they going to wait until after a Charlie Crist inauguration and involve the new Democrat in any of it.

Now, if Rick Scott wins, cancel the above. Scott has read the gospel that national gaming consultant Steve Norton preaches, that new jobs, taxes, construction and tourism are at stake. Norton talks and Scott listens: Destination casinos would be a great addition for a number of Florida resort communities that have thousands of existing accommodations, a good airport and a large site adjacent to the interstate highway system.

Charlie might like all that or he might not. He's not a governor who put his foot down on much of anything.

So, there you are. Charlie wins ... gambling special session. You heard it here first.



Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423.


Comments (8)

Mark
6:03PM APR 11TH 2014
@pat mack; LOL! You say "do what's best for Florida"? If those in Tallahassee truly wanted nothing but the best for Florida, the entire Legislature and cabinet would resign and allow the REAL taxpayers the opportunity to completely overhaul this rotten state government!
Michael F
3:40PM APR 11TH 2014
We want our cafés back, leave us alone in north east florida.
pat mack
10:26AM APR 11TH 2014
Cut the MALARKEY...Do what's best for Florida. Casinos are one of the few industries left in the USA.. Take advantage of this and put new Las Vegas Casinos throughout the state of Florida and watch our economy grow....IN EVERY WAY! The other remaining industries are not getting in like to bring their industry to Florida. Take away the casino control of the greedy Indians who don't want to help our state in any way.
No Panacea
9:46PM APR 13TH 2014
Gambling is already expanding with or without the Legislature in Florida. Look at what's going on in Marion County. Check out this story explaining the reality that Nevada's economy is still in the toilet and destination casinos are losing popularity as the market becomes saturated with them and more and more people are going online. Google this story that ran this week on WCTI-TV called "Frum: Las Vegas made a bad bet on casinos"
No Panacea
9:46PM APR 13TH 2014
Gambling is already expanding with or without the Legislature in Florida. Look at what's going on in Marion County. Check out this story explaining the reality that Nevada's economy is still in the toilet and destination casinos are losing popularity as the market becomes saturated with them and more and more people are going online. Google this story that ran this week on WCTI-TV called "Frum: Las Vegas made a bad bet on casinos"
No Panacea
9:46PM APR 13TH 2014
Gambling is already expanding with or without the Legislature in Florida. Look at what's going on in Marion County. Check out this story explaining the reality that Nevada's economy is still in the toilet and destination casinos are losing popularity as the market becomes saturated with them and more and more people are going online. Google this story that ran this week on WCTI-TV called "Frum: Las Vegas made a bad bet on casinos"
No Panacea
9:46PM APR 13TH 2014
Gambling is already expanding with or without the Legislature in Florida. Look at what's going on in Marion County. Check out this story explaining the reality that Nevada's economy is still in the toilet and destination casinos are losing popularity as the market becomes saturated with them and more and more people are going online. Google this story that ran this week on WCTI-TV called "Frum: Las Vegas made a bad bet on casinos"
SGA
7:47AM APR 14TH 2014
Ah, try again. The Las Vegas economy collapsed due to overbuilding of the local economy, especially housing. It was then helped along by our current lame duck President who suggested that industry not visit Las Vegas... Vegas hasn't been saved, it just benefits from Asian and Latin American patrons in its casinos, both domestically and internationally.

Don't look for Disney to drive the Florida economy. Their only interest is their own self interest as they have operated in Florida, almost unopposed for decades.

Florida should welcome the developers from LV, as the quality of development will exceed anything that is currently in the market today. Further, it will expand the tourism dollars spent in the regions, adding Florida to more rotations of national conventions. However, most importantly, it will drive increased visitation from Asia, likely very wealthy ones... Lets see Disney do that...

As for drugs and prostitution... Ah, have you been to Miami recently? They don't need casinos to have that in Miami!

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