Opponents of expanded gaming are getting a big boost tonight. Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam are joining their fight. General Bondi and Commissioner Putnam says if the state opens the doors to mega casinos an increase in violent crime will follow.
Surrounded by law enforcement officers and business interests, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam plunged into the casino battle.
Adam Putnam / Commissioner of Agic.: “This is an insidious threat.”
Pam Bondi / Attorney General: “We need less gaming, not more.”
General Bondi spent weeks talking to police and prosecutors, and believes if Florida expands gambling, then violent crime will follow. Bondi says gangs are already using the Hard Rock Café Casino in Tampa to cover their tracks. “This is a prime way to launder money.”
Earlier this week several construction and business groups came out in favor of the plans to bring three resort casinos to South Florida.
While politicians and organizations continue to line up on each side of the gaming issue, some state senators are holding out to see what they can get in exchange for a yes vote.
At a Senate Committee meeting, lawmakers discussed loading the bill with new games for parimutuals, a forth resort in Tampa Bay and regulations on internet cafes. Before the bill is ready for a vote a lot of concessions will have to be made.
The bill’s sponsors say their legislation would actually rein in gaming because it sets up a regulatory department. But both Bondi and Putnam argue that lawmakers could regulate the industry without the three new resort casinos.