Greg Roselli-Gaming operators lobby for expansion in Florida

Re-Blogged By Greg Roselli

According to Bloomberg, casino operators including Las Vegas Sands and Genting have sent more than 100Greg Roselli lobbyists to Florida to push for expanded gaming in the state against heavy opposition from Disney and other interests. Florida current limits its casino gaming to slot parlors in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and Native American casinos with slots and limited card-based table games. A study commissioned by the state last year found that full-casinos, their hotels and other amenities could generate $1.5 billion in new annual spending in Florida, making the fourth-most populous state attractive to casino operators amid limited new development opportunities elsewhere in the country.

In addition to entertainment, large-scale gaming investments would compete with existing facilities for convention business – pitting Disney’s 700,000 square feet of meeting space, and other venues in-and-out-of Orlando, against the 750,000 square foot facility in Miami proposed by Genting and what would likely be a similar proposal from Las Vegas Sands.

While the industry has pushed for resort casinos in Florida since the 1970s, the debate was revived in 2011, when Genting began to buy more than $400 million of real estate for its proposed $3.8 billion “Resorts World Miami” development;  legislation for which was ultimately rejected by state lawmakers in 2012.

Gaming expansion is expected to be debated in the legislature in 2014; however, going in to the gubernatorial election later in the year, any large-scale change to Florida’s gaming landscape is expected to be pushed into 2015.