Slot Ruling to Bring Machines to Broward, Five Other Counties

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The bill sets out how many slot machines Broward County can have: 1500 at each of its four pari-mutuel facilities. The state gets half the take, a 50 percent tax on revenue to use for education.

Gambling opponents say the stakes are much higher.

"The truth is, we have opened Pandora's Box now because we are allowing class three, and we are allowing Las Vegas-style slot machines throughout the state of Florida."

The expansion will likely start in the five additional counties with federally recognized tribal land. Representative Arthenia Joyner’s Tampa district includes the Seminoles' Hard Rock Casino. She says the slots will bring more jobs, but it’s a mixed blessing.

"Gambling by people who really can’t afford it, crime, all the other downsides of gambling will come with it."
The majority of lawmakers here oppose the expansion of gambling, but they say they were between a rock and a hard place on this bill.

"I’m not pleased that we have slot machines in Florida, quite frankly, but that being the case, the voters have approved them. They approved them for a second time in Broward County, and so we have an obligation to implement it."

But the fight’s not over yet. Expect a push to repeal the slots amendment when lawmakers return for their regular session in the spring.

Lawmakers say the slots regulation bill should result in about $250 million in tax revenue for education.