So long Lottery – hello Department of Gambling?by Dara Kam | November 15th, 2011
Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff revealed a new wrinkle in her “strategic vision” plan for gambling – she wants to transform the Florida Lottery department into the “Florida Gaming Commission,” something up until now she thought couldn’t be done.
The Lottery, which brings in about $4 billion a year, is an already-existing executive agency which could be morphed into a statewide gambling commission, Bogdanoff said at a press conference this morning with the Florida Latin Builders Association.
The gambling commission would have the power to grant up to three casino licenses (“destination resorts” in legislative parlance) in South Florida.
Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said the commission could also possibly rein in the Lottery, which she said is “taking money from our citizens and not really doing anything to benefit Florida.”
The money people spend on Lottery tickets would be spent elsewhere and make its way into the state’s general revenue fund anyway, Bogdanoff said.
Bogdanoff, most of whose district is in Palm Beach County, will introduce the latest twist in the casino proposal (SB 710, HB 479) at its first hearing tomorrow morning during a Senate Regulated Industries workshop.
The Hispanic builders are digging the “destination resorts” plan pushed by Bogdanoff and Rep. Erik Fresen, saying it’s just what the gasping construction industry needs.
Noelia Moreno, the organization’s past president, said that the state’s 20 percent unemployment rate in the construction industry is about twice that of the general population.
The legilsative duo’s proposal to build three high-end casinos in South Florida could create 40,000 contruction jobs and 100,000 permanent jobs, Moreno said.
“We need these jobs now. We needed them yesterday. But we definitely need them now,” Moreno said at a press conference joined by Bogdanoff, Fresen and other Latino builders.