Gaming Expansion a Gamble

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - As players at Florida’s seven Seminole Casinos are enjoying Black-Jack and other new games brought on by a state compact with the tribe.…

High rollers from Las Vegas are in Tallahassee to get a piece of the action. Tuesday two major gaming companies asked lawmakers to change state law to allow Vegas-style resort casinos in Florida.

Andrew Abboud, A Vice President at Las Vegas Sands Corporation, says an expansion would bring thousands of jobs to the state.

“Within our property we have three hundred to four hundred entrepreneurs that own shops or restaurants. So we may have nine or ten thousand of our direct employees and we’ll have tenets who employ another five thousand people,” said Abboud.

A gaming expansion could help heal Florida’s anemic budget, but many aren’t ready to take that gamble. Sands Corporation representatives met briefly with Governor Rick Scott. Scott’s neutral on an expansion, but doesn’t want to rely on gaming revenues to balance the budget.

“I do not want the budget to be tied to gaming,” said Scott.

The state collects 400 million from gambling every year. Over the next five years a billion will come from giving exclusive rights to the Seminole Tribe. But if the state gambles on new casinos, they’ll lose the Seminole money.

In the middle once again are the state’s 27 businesses that offer racing along with slots and some card games. They’re back at the capitol to make sure an expansion for Vegas style casino resorts doesn’t leave them holding bad cards.

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