Florida Senator Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, who pioneered the chamber’s gaming initiatives the past few years, is withdrawing a proposal to create five Las Vegas-worthy “destination resorts” with full casino gambling in the state, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
Jones’ bill dying is good news to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has opposed the measure. The tribe operates the only casinos in the state under a five-year, $250-million agreement signed last year. Currently, the tribe holds exclusive rights to offer blackjack and other table games at five of its seven casinos, including the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, as well as Las Vegas-style slot machines at its casinos outside Miami-Dade and Broward counties, reported TampaBay.com.
The proposed bill fell through after Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, attached an amendment to also allow South Florida pari-mutuels to operate as casinos. Pari-mutuels would be able to run table games, craps and slot machines with the same tax rate as future destination casinos, reported the Sentinel.
“I had no interest in that whatsoever,” said Jones, who wanted to attract vacation and convention business to the state, not expand gambling at pari-mutuel sites.
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