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Cannon ‘skeptical’ about casinos

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

Despite the lure of big bucks in a bleak budget year, House Speaker Dean Cannon is dubious about a proposal to allow up to three Las Vegas-style casinos in South Florida.

“I remain very skeptical,” Cannon, R-Winter Park, told a gathering of reporters and editors at the Associated Press Florida Legislative Planning Session this morning.

Cannon said he remains “philosophically opposed to the expansion of gaming in the state.” His counterpart, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, has pledged that the Senate will have an up-or-down vote on the measure (SB 710, HB 487).

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, released their “destination resort” proposal last week. The plan, in its preliminary stages, also creates a statewide gaming commission.

Yesterday, a coalition of faith groups came out in opposition to the proposal, naming its defeat their top priority during the legislative session that ends early in March.

Cannon said he’s aware of a potential deal being crafted by lawmakers that would allow the from one to three casinos in South Florida in exchange for shutting down unregulated Internet cafes. But, he said, “I’ve yet to see a concrete plan to accomplish it.”

Cannon also said he would not pursue a plan to split up the Florida Supreme Court, an idea he pushed but later abandoned during the session this spring.

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