House Majority Leader Dana Young made the opening bid Monday on expanding gambling operations in Florida. The Gaming Control Act of 2015 provides for up too two destination resorts in Florida, a constitutional amendment to lift a moratorium on further expansion, decoupling of greyhound racing from other gaming opportunities and the reversion to the state of 12 dormant wagering permits.
“This is going to be a very active discussion this session, said Young. “And I believe there are no right or wrong answers; everything is on the table.”
No Casinos was quick to respond, saying the proposal “defies logic.”
“This bill would cause the biggest expansion of gambling in Florida history,” said No Casinos President John Sowinski.
The gist of Young’s proposal is in HB 1233. It would allow one destination resort casino in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The casinos would have to pay the state a minimum of $175 million in taxes annually. Applicants would have to make a minimum capital investment of $2 billion.
The proposal would also reduce the tax rate on racino slot machines from 35 percent to 25 percent.
Young said a critical component of the plan is a moratorium on new gaming permits outside of the bill and a statewide referendum to end further expansion of gambling.
“I firmly believe that just because certain entrenched interests are uncomfortable with this conversation does not mean that we, as lawmakers, should shrink back from our responsibilities,” said Young. “I look forward to the spirited discussion and debate on the concepts contained in the bill during the 2015 Session.”