For years, Las Vegas has been known as the slot machine capital of the United States. But a pending deal in Florida could see the Sunshine State become a serious gambling rival.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that the state’s laws could be rewritten so that Miami-Dade and Broward counties could each have an additional slots casino, and the Seminole Tribe have seven full resort-style casinos.
Proposed by Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), the legislation would give Malaysia’s Genting an opportunity to build a casino in Miami. It would also provide opportunities for Florida’s declining horse racing, dog racing, and jai-alai to use slot machines for their benefit.
One more big part of the bill is daily fantasy sports, which would be subject to regulations if approved.
“It is a sincere effort to try to address these issues in a comprehensive way and balance private industry with maximizing revenues from the Seminole Tribe,” said Galvano, while adding that the 122-page document is a good start.
“It is also incumbent on the Seminole Tribe to negotiate back toward us,” Galvano explained. “It’s a much better process to be addressing all the issues comprehensively by putting the state’s position out there and then having the Tribe respond. What I want to avoid is death by 1,000 cuts.”
Fresh off becoming president of the National Conference of Legislators from Gaming States, Galvano complained that past legislative efforts have been hampered by “little industry fixes.” He says that these have prevented the parimutuel industry from competing with the Tribe’s gaming monopoly.
The goal is to reach an agreement with the Seminole Tribe in time to add as much as $250 million to the state government’s annual budget.
It’s unclear exactly how many slot machines the new proposal would add across Florida. There are approximately 25,000 in the state now, versus almost 200,000 in Vegas.
But as the Tampa Bay Times believes, Florida’s 25k number would shoot up significantly.