In Florida, if you're looking for Vegas-style gambling, you can only find it at a handful of casinos run by the Seminole Indian tribe. Under a deal with the state, the tribe has exclusivity over offering games like blackjack and baccarat.
But now, with that deal up for renewal in July, one of Tallahassee's most powerful lawmakers says it's time to open the door to even more gaming, including giant resort casinos.
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Proponents of Vegas-style resort casinos could funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue to Florida, which is why House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, is filing a controversial bill to legalize them.
The bill would mean scrapping the exclusivity deal the state has had with the Seminole Indian tribe in favor of more competition and more regulation.
"Florida is the third largest gaming state in the country, but gaming in our state has evolved in a very haphazard way, with no strategic vision," Young said.
But what that strategy ought to be is a matter of heated debate. The resort casino plan debuted Thursday at a packed committee hearing, with plenty of complaints about the way the system works now.
Expanded gaming could fundamentally transform Florida's tourism economy, but whether that's a good thing is very much an open question, and revenue may not be the only issue.
The theme park industry, led by Disney, is warning new casinos would draw vacationers away from roller coasters and towards casinos.
In addition, Mark Phillips with Florida Family Action says expanding gaming would also expand an epidemic of addiction.
"The toll on the human spirit, the human condition and the family condition is without debate," he said. "It's corrosive, it degrades, it continually frustrates the climb to excellence in all areas of family life and the welfare of our communities."
It's another reason lawmakers have a difficult hand to play in a high-stakes game to determine the future of gaming in Florida.
The Legislature has just over a month left in its annual session, which is putting pressure on lawmakers to make up their minds about whether to expand gambling.