Anti-gambling forces rake in Bondi supportby Dara Kam | December 8th, 2011
Count Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi among anti-gambling forces fighting a proposal to allow three casinos in the state.
Bondi will join a noon press conference hosted by “No Casinos” today, her office announced in a press release this morning.
Even without Bondi’s opposition, the “destination resorts” bill sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Rep. Erik Fresen is facing an uphill battle.
The Senate Regulated Industries Committee wound up its second workshop on the proposal (SB 710) yesterday, logging nearly six hours of testimony in the two meetings.
Near the end of yesterday’s discussion, committee chairman Dennis Jones, who supports the plan conceptually, expressed frustration.
“It seems like more questions are arising every week that we don’t have answers to,” Jones, R-Seminole, said.
Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher, whose committee has to sign off on the bill before it heads to the Senate floor, blasted the measure during yesterday’s meeting.
“I think this legislation is a major change in the culture and brand in the state of Florida and frankly I think it expands gambling to the point where I am concerned about it,” Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said during yesterday’s meeting.
Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, insists that her bill allowing the three high-end casinos and creating a statewide gambling commission won’t grow gambling in the state but will enable the state to establish a “strategic vision” for gambling.
But she acknowledged she’s got her work cut out for her. Bogdanoff, whose district includes part of Palm Beach County, compared her goal to overhaul gambling in Florida to former Gov. Jeb Bush‘s education reforms.
“It was a holistic view and everybody bought into it,” she said. “I don’t have a popular governor advocating at that level. I’m just a lowly senator from Palm Beach and Broward County.”
Gov. Rick Scott has not said whether he supports the proposal, but has said he does not want the state to be dependent on taxes generated by the casinos.