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Florida senate bill sparks concerns over potential expansion of casinos in Miami-Dade County

Opponents fear Florida senate bill allowing gambling permit relocation could open doors to new casinos

A new bill introduced in the Florida Senate has reignited the debate over the possibility of increased gambling activities in Miami-Dade County. Senate Bill 1054, proposed by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, has raised suspicions about its potential to pave the way for the establishment of new casinos in the area by permitting the relocation of gambling permits. Continue reading this news to get more details.

Proposed Florida senate bill and concerns raised

The Florida Senate bill proposes the transfer of gaming permits, particularly those associated with greyhound dog racing and conducting casino activities, to new locations within a 30-mile radius. Most notably, this relocation would bypass any existing local government regulations that might oppose such moves, creating unease among opponents of expanded gambling.

For individuals like Dan Gelber, former Miami Beach mayor and a vocal advocate against gambling, this bill represents a significant threat to the local community. Concerns are mounting as opponents fear the introduction of gambling to new areas in South Florida, including potential resistance to a casino establishment at the Resort in Miami Beach and Fontainebleau Hotel.

A man playing cards game

Political backdrop and allegations

The political landscape surrounding gambling in Florida has been contentious, particularly following a $500 million deal struck in 2021 between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis. This deal permitted the tribe to offer online sports betting statewide while imposing restrictions on new casinos located more than 15 miles from existing Seminole Tribe gambling centers in the Hollywood area.

Critics viewed this provision as potentially favoring influential figures such as real estate mogul Jeffrey Soffer and former President Donald Trump. Both individuals own properties slightly beyond the 15-mile threshold from existing gambling hubs, prompting speculation about the bill's potential influence in this context.

Jeffrey Soffer, whose family owns the Fontainebleau, has long sought to transfer a gambling permit from the Big Easy Casino in Hallandale Beach to the Fontainebleau. His efforts included lobbying elected officials aboard his megayacht in 2020, adding fuel to the debate surrounding the intentions of the proposed Florida Senate bill.

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News Source: Miami Herald

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