Florida casino resort bill rejected

Feb. 3, 2012 at 6:42 PM
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A bill that would have allowed up to three huge casino resorts in south Florida has been rejected by state lawmakers.

The measure failed to gain enough votes Friday from the 15-member House Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, asked to postpone a vote, and House Rules Chairman Gary Aubuchon, who sets the House's calendar, said in a statement that meant the bill was dead.

The subcommittee doesn't meet again this session, and Aubuchon said he wouldn't allow the measure to be sent to another committee or to the entire House.

"Today's action on the casino gambling bill is a resounding victory for those of us who have opposed this assault on Florida's family-friendly economy," Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, said. "As long as I am the chairman of the House Rules Committee, this bill will not be withdrawn from any committees and is dead for this year."

The bill would have allowed up to three $2 billion casino resorts. It drew opposition from Central Florida tourism industry interests, led by Walt Disney World; the Florida Chamber of Commerce; social conservatives; the Florida parimutuel industry; and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which operates casinos.

The bill would have allowed the casino resorts to offer blackjack, craps, roulette and poker along with slots and other games.

Parimutuel facilities, which offer slots and poker, would not have been allowed to offer those games under the bill, but their tax rate would have been cut from 35 percent to 10 percent.

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