CEO Sounding Board: Gaming in Florida
Question: When the Legislature takes up gaming in 2014, what should it implement?
“There were five pari-mutuels that got favorable referendums last year to add slots to our product. Being one of those five, I’m eager to see legislation pass that would allow me to have slots just as they do in Miami and Broward. Our referendum won by 14 points. We were extremely successful. We would like to see them pass the legislation that says, among other things, if you get a favorable referendum, you can put in slots.”
“In Miami-Dade and Broward counties … I would hope the legislation would treat the seven voter-approved tax-paying entities with equity when dealing with other gaming interests seeking to establish land-based casinos in these two counties. Outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, I would hope that if gaming is expanded, the Legislature would honor the will of the voters and limit granting of slot machines to pari-mutuel facilities that held successful referendums for slot machines at their gaming facilities. The voice of the people should be recognized and their directive instituted by the governing body of the state.”
“I would go back to the basics of the original deal. A lot of legislators voted to couple the casinos and card rooms with the horse industry because they wanted the good the horse industry brings to the state. (Pari-mutuels) had to have a full schedule of live racing, and part of the casino and card room profits had to be added to the purses. The horse industry is one of the major agriculture industries in Florida. If it goes away, it will leave a big hole. Those horses will go to anywhere where the purses are higher. (Legislators) must define horse racing and make sure that card rooms and casinos can’t pop up with one day of racing or even one race. A full schedule of live racing is a minimum of eight races per day and 40 performances (days of racing) per fiscal year.”