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Florida Destination Casino Bill Withdrawn From House Subcommitte

Bill Likely Won't Be Revisited Until 2013


Seminole Tribe Operates Seven of Eight Existing CasinosA piece of legislation that would authorize three new resort-style casinos in Florida has been withdrawn before a House subcommittee could hold their vote.

Barry Johnson, president of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, said that the bill “was in the ICU,” and wasn’t likely to be brought up again until the new year.

The bill’s progress has caught the attention of some major gaming industry leaders in Nevada, who saw south Florida as a major opportunity in the casino market. Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands were all said to show interest in an area where only tribal casinos currently exist alongside state parimutuel dog and horse tracks and jai alai frontons.

Malaysia-based Genting Group gambled by buying up 30 acres along the Bicayne Bay waterfront for a reported $400 million, but will now be limited with what they can do with their newly acquired land, which includes the offices of the Miami Herald.

Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel for Genting’s Miami project, Jessica Hoppe, said that the company would not give up on a south Florida resort.

“We greatly appreciate the hard work of the destination resorts legislation bill sponsors, as well as those who support efforts to bring common sense gaming reform and jobs to Florida. [Genting] remains committed to the vision of world-class destination resorts in south Florida, and will continue to work with the state legislature and the south Florida community to bring this vision into a reality.”

The bill was fiercely opposed by a number of organizations, including the Seminole Indian Tribe, who operates seven of the state’s eight casinos. Other opponents included the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Walt Disney company, who felt that a Las Vegas-style destination resort could infringe on their cut of the state’s tourist dollars.