Slots Showdown on Florida’s Horizon

A legal showdown is about to begin over whether six counties where voters have approved slot machines can actually install them. The Attorney general says no, but courts and the legislature may have a different opinion.

Voters in conservative Lee County in SW Florida voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney. But they voted even more solidly for slot machines, approving them by almost a two to one margin.

On election day, voters in Brevard and Palm Beach counties also said yes to slots. That brings the total to six counties that have said yes to slots since January.

Prior to the first vote, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told the Department that supervises slots that it didn’t matter how people voted, they could not issue a license. Attorney Mark Dunbar, who has an interest in this barrel racing track, disagrees. “There are a couple of cases that will likely be filed in the next six to eight weeks that will push the issue a little bit now that the voters have overwhelmingly said they would like to have slot machines at their pari-mutual facilities.”

As slots backers get ready to go to court, state lawmakers are about to begin a two year review of every gambling regulation in the state”.

The state does already has slots, Indian casino’s, boats to nowhere, and internet cafe’s, and Senate President Don Gaetz says each is regulated differently.

“We have completely unregulated aspects of gaming like internet cafes then we have over regulated aspects of gaming like some of our dog tracks and horse tracks.”

Any changes put the deal with the Seminole Tribe in jeopardy, The deal the state cut with the Seminole tribe expires in two years, and another full court press for destination casinos is expected over the next two years.


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