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Brickell

ISSUE: Slot machines in South Florida

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Gambling is a horrible idea. It detracts from surrounding businesses and brings in vice and crime. I voted against it in November, byt unfortunately cannot vote against it today being a Duval resident.

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I'll be shocked if it doesn't pass. I can't recall the last time South Floridians rejected a major referendum.

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I voted in favor. Like it or not, gambling is already here. We have cruises to nowhere, 3 Indian casinos (with "slots", mind you), etc., and none of them can be taxed. At least these revenues can be. Oh, and don't forget the Lottery and parimutuels.

I find it fascinating that all the ads that are in opposition are paid for by political action committees outside of South Florida. The biggest one, Floridians for Responsible Spending, for example, is based in Tampa.

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^ indian casinos here don't have real slots. They're loosley based on bingo and don't pay out as much. presumably if we allow slots then the indian casinos will also be allowed to offer real slots.

I agree with your sentiments tivo, but I can't support this referendum as it is offered.

I support gambling from a liberterian point of view, but I also enjoy it. I think we will have it eventually, but I hate that it's tied to education. I hate the campaign the pro-slots groups have mounted and I don't trust this group of legislatures to adequately tax the slots. I also think local municipalities should get a cut instead of everything going to state coffers.

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Say it's 'for the kids', and the voters stampede to the voting booths.

Maybe we should take a hint here in Orlando and say, "Vote Light Rail - it's for the Kids.'

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indian casinos here don't have real slots.
Sorry, I should have been more clear... It's more like a touch screen game than a Vegas-style machine.

I also think local municipalities should get a cut instead of everything going to state coffers.
A profit-sharing agreement was made between Calder and the City of Miami Gardens. Other municipalities have or will enter into such agreements as well.

So wait' date=' South Florida builds the slots, but the revenues go to Tallhassee? That seems a little messed up....[/quote']Divvying up and spreading out funds is nothing new. Remember that toll revenues paid for on Florida's Turnpike by South Florida commuters get spread out throughout the entire state to fund Turnpike System projects. Same goes for sales taxes collected in tourist areas. The amendment is very clear:

I can see the concern for the Legislature's capacity to enact appropriate legislation. The Legislature would do well in hiring regulatory experts from Nevada and other jurisdictions to do this properly.

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There's some interesting words on the difference between Class II and Class III machines here: http://robison.casinocitytimes.com/articles/8053.html

I know that the funds are supposed to "supplement" education, but it's the idea that we're combining the two in the first place that bothers me. I don't like it with the lottery and I don't like it for slots. Frankly, it'd be a lot cheaper if we all just agreed to tax ourselves 1% instead of giving 30% to casino operators so we can get 1% back to education.

Again, I support gambling and will probably visit a few of these establishments if and when they open, but my vote today was a protest vote.

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Well the votes are in. It passed in Broward and looks to be headed for a recount in Dade, but is currently behind by 6,000 votes. I'm pretty suprised to be honest. I thought for sure it'd pass. Will be interesting how things progress if the vote holds up and Broward gets the slots and Dade doesn't. Will Flagler and Calder and Miami Jai-lai survive?

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I know that the funds are supposed to "supplement" education, but it's the idea that we're combining the two in the first place that bothers me.
Well, it's not the first time the two have been linked, though. On the surface, the legalization in Nevada in the 1930s was seen as a way to mitigate state budget shortfalls after the Depression and to fund education.

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Im undecided,because in one hand theres money being received by the government or wherever it goes,without forcing your money away from you.

But in the other hand,there would be crime.

I know ,because even for small things(like a guy that got mad at a cermon in a church and killed 4 or 5 people in church) theres crime,and gambling would stress someone out or anger them.Maybe causing bitterness toward the place and shooting the place.But thats the worst case scenario.

But its not my decision,so ... whatever

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booooo.... this is a sad state of affairs but not totally unexpected.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/11214763.htm

Bingo-style slots proposed

A House committee proposes to limit slot machines to the video-style machines now allowed at Indian casinos and to make the industry keep its promise to education.

BY MARY ELLEN KLAS

[email protected]

TALLAHASSEE - Slot machines at Broward County parimutuel facilities would be limited to the bingo-style video terminals that are now used at Indian gaming casinos under a proposed bill to be released today by a key House committee.

The measure attempts to limit the expansion of gambling by prohibiting Las Vegas-style slot machines and potentially undercutting efforts by the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes to get higher-stakes casino gambling -- known as Class III gaming -- in negotiations with the state.

The House plan also attempts to force the parimutuel industry to make good on its campaign promises to generate $500 million a year in tax revenues for education, even though the promise was made when it appeared that both Miami-Dade and Broward parimutuels would have the games.

Under the plan, proposed by the House Business Regulation Committee, the state would impose a tax rate on the machines that is yet to be determined. If tax revenue is less than the $500 million that the industry promised in its election campaign, the state would impose a fee to make up the difference.

Industry reaction to the proposal was mixed late Wednesday, as lobbyists put their hopes on a Senate bill next week that is expected to impose fewer restrictions and cost them less money than the House version.

''The worst-case scenario we want to be in is to have nothing less than the gaming the Indians have,'' said Ron Book, who represents a coalition of parimutuel owners.

The idea of limiting slot machine operations to the bingo-style terminals now in use at the Indian casinos was first promoted by Rep. Juan Zapata, a Miami Republican, and recently endorsed by Gov. Jeb Bush. The machines are defined as Class II gambling in federal law.

By all appearances, the Class II machines look and operate like traditional slot machines, but customers play against each other rather than against the house, and the jackpots tend to be lower.

Gov. Bush released his suggestions for regulating slot machines this week, and while the House plan embraces many of them -- such as defining slot machines as the bingo-style video machines -- it excludes many others.

For example, the House does not embrace the governor's proposal for taxing slots. Bush wants to impose a 40 percent tax rate on the first 500 slot machines at Broward's four parimutuel facilities, then increase the rate by 5 percent for every 500 machines -- up to a tax rate of 100 percent.

Bush also wants to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol and allow no ATMs within the slot halls. The House bill does not have those restrictions.

The House does include the governor's suggestion that gamblers be banned from using credit cards or debit cards in slot machines and also prohibits any cash advances to gamblers.

The governor also opposes the industry practice of offering free drinks, meals or gifts to gamblers.

Both the House and the governor propose to allow the slots to operate for 12 hours a day. The House sets the hours as noon to midnight.

By contrast, a Senate committee is considering a plan that would define slot machines as the traditional Las Vegas-style slots. That style of gambling is defined in federal law as Class III gaming and could open up an opportunity for the Indian casinos to negotiate with the state to offer other high-stakes games, such as craps, roulette and blackjack.

The Senate is also expected to impose a tax rate of 30 percent and oppose many of the other restrictions sought by the governor and House leaders.

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http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/st...ry4.html?page=1

Second vote on slots possible in Miami-Dade

Jim Freer

Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez wants his county's voters to have a second chance to approve slot machines at pari-mutuels - provided Broward County slots ring up significant tax dollars without straining roads and other services.

Based on his talks with members of a Florida House committee set to play a significant role in setting tax rates and other rules for the Broward endeavor, Martinez said he expects the slot machine system for racetracks and jai alai frontons will meet those standards.

In its session ending May 6, the Legislature is required to pass a law permitting Broward's four pari-mutuels to install slot machines by 2006.

"The rules for Broward also would apply to us," Martinez said. "If it looks like it will have more positives than negatives, I will support putting it on the ballot again in 2007."

On March 8, Miami-Dade voters rejected slots at the county's three pari-mutuel facilities by 52 percent to 48 percent.

Broward voters went the opposite way.

Their vote requires the Legislature to pass a law with rules including the number, hours of operation and tax rates on machines. Under a constitutional amendment state voters passed in November, tax revenue from machines must be used to supplement spending on education statewide.

Under state law, 2007 is the earliest possible year for a second slots vote in Miami-Dade.

Martinez says he has talked about the slots issue with several Miami-Dade commissioners.

"We voted 12 to one to put it on this year's ballot," he said. "If the composition is anywhere near the same and the situation looks good in Broward, I think we would go the same way."

The pari-mutuels' political action committee, Yes for Better Schools and Jobs, is already planning for a possible 2007 vote in Miami-Dade, said Fred Havenick, president of Flagler Greyhound in Miami.

Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens and Miami Jai-Alai in Miami are Miami-Dade's other pari-mutuels.

By late next year, the group will ask the County Commission to put a slots referendum on a ballot in 2007, Havenick said.

After Broward pari-mutuels add slots, Martinez will ask the Miami-Dade government to work with the Florida Department of Transportation and Broward government agencies in doing traffic counts near Broward's three racetracks and its jai alai fronton.

"We also want to see what the tax rate is on the machines, and how money for schools is divided among counties," he said.

A study commissioned by the pari-mutuels' PAC estimated that slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward could produce 18,200 jobs and $438 million for schools in their first full year.

The number of new jobs probably would be fewer, but "still significant," Martinez said.

"I think slot machines can have a positive impact in Miami-Dade," he said. "What we see in Broward will help us decide if it would be in our best interests."

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Posted on Wed, May. 11, 2005

GAMBLING

Broward slots in limbo, courts in play

Courts may soon be asked to sort out slot-machine issues that the Legislature couldn't.

BY JACKIE HALLIFAX

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE - Slot machines generated a lot of talkduring the legislative session, but lawmakers couldn't agree on how to tax or even define them.

Now, the parimutuel industry is headed to court to get some answers. And that could lead to a special session.

''We had a clear mandate from the voters,'' said Daniel Adkins, who has spearheaded the effort to get slots in South Florida tracks and jai-alai frontons. ``I guess somebody didn't want a bill.''

House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, and Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, were less than enthusiastic about seeing slot machines installed in Broward County's three racetracks and one jai-alai fronton.

''I just don't like gambling,'' Bense said last week. ``Sorry.''

But voters approved an amendment to the Florida Constitution in November that gave Broward and Miami-Dade County voters the option of having slot machines at parimutuel sites.

The parimutuel industry sold the ballot measure to voters by promising hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue could be raised for schools across the state.

Four months later, voters in Miami-Dade decided against slots. Voters in Broward approved them. It was the first day of the two-month legislative session.

In the Capitol, lawmakers went to work on how to tax slot machines, how to regulate them -- even how to define them.

That last issue proved to be pivotal...

Read more: Miami Herald

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With no regulation, Broward may make its own rules on slots

Legislature's failure left troubling void

By Scott Wyman

Staff writer

Posted May 11 2005

After the state Legislature's failure to regulate slot machine gambling at Broward County's pari-mutuel venues, county commissioners are exploring whether to seize the initiative and do it on their own.

Commissioners asked their attorney Tuesday to research their authority to oversee the industry. Next week they will consider whether to begin drafting restrictions that cover such details as the winnings each machine pays out and the hours of operation for the casinos.

They said they are concerned about the possibility of unregulated gambling if pari-mutuel executives sue the state and a judge rules they can offer slots immediately.

Gambling opponents charge that the county has no authority to act and is trying to boost the industry's interests.

The gambling industry expects to go to court shortly to argue that last fall's constitutional amendment allowing slots can go into effect after July 1 without any legislative action. If that happens, machines could be installed at Dania Jai-Alai, Pompano Park Harness Track, Hollywood Greyhound and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.

Read more: Sun-Sentinel (limited time)

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This untested territory should prove very interesting...

Posted on Thu, May. 12, 2005

GAMBLING

Can county write slots rules?

It's unclear how much say Broward County has in regulating its slot machines.

BY AMY SHERMAN AND MARY ELLEN KLAS

[email protected]

Last week, state lawmakers ended their annual session without crafting rules to oversee Broward County's slot machines. Now county commissioners are talking about stepping in and writing their own regulations. But it's not clear whether commissioners have that authority.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. The constitutional slot-machine amendment, approved by voters last year, gave legislators until July 1 to create regulations to implement slot machines at Dania Jai-Alai, Gulfstream Park, Hollywood Greyhound Track and Pompano Park harness track.

With no regulations in place to implement the amendment, track owners say they will seek a court order allowing them to start writing them.

Read more: Miami Herald

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well if the state legislature did their job...

I think they need to extend the session at least a month. They push stuff through way to fast in Tallahassee.

Cheers to Broward for attempting to get stuff done.

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Usurping popular mandate and ignoring the State Constitution seems to be what they're good at. That extra month would help, although they don't really get much done until the last minute anyway. It would be a fascinating turn of events if the courts end up ordering the Legislature into special session.

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Posted on Fri, May. 13, 2005

GAMBLING LEGISLATION

Slots foe out to trump county

An anti-slots legislator wants the state to revoke the license of any parimutuel operator who opens slot machines before the Legislature acts.

BY MARY ELLEN KLAS

[email protected]

TALLAHASSEE - Afraid Broward's parimutuels may start running slot machines without regulation, state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff Thursday asked the state to revoke their licenses if they do.

Bogdanoff, a Republican attorney from Fort Lauderdale, petitioned the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling, to issue the ruling.

She asked the agency to clarify that the slot machines may not be installed at Dania Jai-Alai, Gulfstream Park, Hollywood Greyhound Track and Pompano Park harness track until the Legislature takes action.

If they attempt to operate without regulation, the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering should strip them of their gambling licenses, she said...

Read more: Miami Herald

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Interesting opinion column about how the legislative body work and how it relates to slots...

Inept political hacks not in a gambling mood

By FRED GRIMM

[email protected]

So the Legislature punted on slots.

Our lawmakers dodged their constitutional duty, specified in the amendment Florida citizens approved last fall by an 82,000-vote margin:

``In the next regular legislative session occurring after voter approval of this constitutional amendment, the Legislature shall adopt legislation implementing this section and having an effective date no later than July 1 of the year following voter approval of this amendment.''

Didn't happen. That next regular legislative session came and went. The key commandment of the amendment was relegated to an empty shell, or, rather, an empty shall. Among Florida legislators, the word ''shall'' no longer comes with the burdensome definition of an order, an obligation or an inevitability.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/...mm/11624062.htm

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Posted on Wed, May. 18, 2005

GAMBLING

Commission wants entire slots payout

County commissioners are looking for ways to get slot machines up and running, and to maximize Broward's share of the profits.

BY ASHLEY FANTZ

[email protected]

Hoping to take advantage of state lawmakers' failure to pass regulations governing slot machines, county commissioners agreed Tuesday to investigate whether they can legally set their own rules, get slots up and running -- and funnel all the profits to Broward County schools.

Read more: Miami Herald

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