Stunning Setback for Sands Casino Bill


Yes there is more important news going on in south Florida than talking about
those  two schmucks, Bernie and Gino.

Stunning Setback for Sands Casino Bill

 

 

 

The destination resort casino
legislation hand-crafted by lobbyists for eccentric casino mogul Sheldon
Adelson
, introduced by Senator Dennis Jones and
quietly shepherded in the Senate by Senate President Mike
Haridopolos
, has hit a speed bump based on greater scrutiny of
Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is under federal investigation for
bribing public officials in Macao, as well as increasesd fiscal issues regarding
the bill.

 

Jones argues incorrectly that
passage of the bill would not alleviate a requirement in the
Seminole compact from last July that the Seminoles pay the
state a guaranteed $150 million sum per year until new mega-casinos actually
open in five years. The act of legalizing casinos alone would end the
exclusivity the state pledged to the Seminoles in the compact and thus let the
Seminoles off the hook. According the Miami Herald, the Seminoles paid the state
a whopping $378 million last year.

 

Jones was forced to pull back
the bill when Tea Party activists pledged to raise the fiscal issues in the
Republican U.S. Senate Primary against Senate President Mike Haridopolos. Jones
had repelled any amendments to Sheldon’s bill in his committee and opponents
were preparing for a donnybrook over passage in the Senate.

 

South Florida Tea Party leader
Everett Wilkinson – working closely with the Miccosukee
Indians
, who have a casino in Miami-Dade – has made the case that the
Jones casino bill and a similar bill by Democrat Oscar Braynon
in the Senate could both cost the state $1.8 Billion over 5 years. Wilkinson has
called the Casino bills “financially irresponsible” and requested that
House Speaker Dean Cannon, a Tea Party favorite, kill a
companion bill by Miami-Dade Rep. Erik
Fresen
.

 

The Braynon-Fresen bills were
engineered by lobbyists for MGM, Steve Wynn,
Genting and Caesars World as an alternative to
the Sands bill which strips out a provision that would allow for only one casino
in Miami-Dade and Broward. The slot-operating Miami-Dade and Broward
pari-mutuels have put forward an amendment that would lower their tax rate to a
level commensurate with the new casinos and put table games at their
locations.

 

Under the Both bills the
casino locations would be selected by a six member commission dominated by the
Governor’s appointees. Governor Rick Scott has reached out to a
least one former elected official to gauge his willingness to serve as
Commission Chair if casinos become a reality. Scott
told
the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo, “I haven’t made a decision on
gaming yet.”

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