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Jones Pulls the Destination Resort Casino Bill

31 March 2011 by admin

It was during the beginning of this year that we first heard about Senator Dennis Jones’ bill that would allow casino companies to bid on building in number. Before anyone got the idea that this would mean Disney would be competing with a Sands or Caesar’s casino down the street from them—and tainting Disney’s hyper-reality idea of perfection—Jones limited the number of destination resort casinos to four or five at most.

Originally Jones presented the bill as a way to increase Florida’s ability to compete for conventions. These destination resorts would offer a good sized amount of space which could be used for conventions, thus pulling in corporate conventions or comic conventions. And if these destination just so happened to have casinos oh well, so be it. Honestly it was a bit on the sneaky side for Jones, and that is the bit that I do not admire.

If Florida wants casinos other than the Seminole casinos, then so be it. But come on, do not present your bill to bring casino resorts to Florida and try to pass them off as convention space with a resort hotel and shops, oh and a casino. People are smarter than that. Call a spade a spade will you!

Realizing that people were not fooled by his attempt to pass off the destination resort casinos as glorified convention space, Jones did start calling a spade a spade and began talking of his bill as means to increase brick and mortar options and gambling for Florida, perhaps even as a way to increase tourism, something the state is highly dependent on.

But the Seminole tribe and the pari-mutuel industry were not having any of that. The two groups had already faced off against each other last year over the Seminole compact. Now they argue on the same side against the destination resort casinos, especially the pari-mutuel industry. To fight fire with fire, the pari-mutuels put in that if Florida lawmakers were all set to allow major casinos to be built in Florida that it would be hard for them to compete—similar to when facing the Seminole compact—and wanted a 15% tax cut on top of the tax cut they received in last year’s deal.

To prove that lawmakers are not completely without conscious, despite Florida’s inclination to jump-increase their universities’ tuition by 30% after the state cut education funding. In the case of the pari-mutuels and Jones’ bill enough law makers began to think that the pari-mutuels were on to something and were beginning to lean towards giving them yet another tax cut.

Needless to say, Jones was none too happy about that: “As we started to gain some acceptance [for the bill], the pari-mutuel industry attacked us with the idea they wanted another tax cut and I was unwilling to do that after we gave them a 15% tax cut last year. They [the pari-mutuels] apparently had the votes to ride on the back of this industry. I’d rather have nothing than something I don’t like.”

With the pari-mutuels pushing and pushing for the tax cut and with support for them coming in, Jones decided that he would rather give up his idea for allowing destination resort casinos to be built in Florida; and he pulled the bill that would have given Florida destination resort casinos. But the bill still exists that would give Florida online gambling.

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