WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Fla. Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Resort Casino Bill

At times angry...

"Do we eat people's lunch? We don't!"

Then generous...

"We are spreading the cake all over the place!"

But always mindful of why he's here...

"God give you all the sun and weather!"

Colin Au, a global gaming giant, went before a key Senate panel determined to beat back a wave of criticism. Mainly, that the $2 billion resort casino he'd like to build in Miami would only take business away from Florida's hotels and theme parks.

"What is the benefits to the hotels? I hear newspapers saying, you know, we going to empty them out. That's bull**it."

Far from it, Au's promising to fly in more than two million casino-hungry tourists from Latin America and Asia, people who would drop their money not just at the craps table, but also hotels and attractions up and down the entire state.

"I'm even prepared to guarantee Disneyland 100,000 tickets that we would sell for them!"

"I understand I'm just a guy in a suit from Las Vegas."

Au isn't alone in trying to persuade lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow three resort casinos to go up in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. At the hearing, the bill's sponsor even floated the idea of allowing them statewide.

But the verdict's out on just how much shared revenue the state might. Au says 1.7 billion from his project alone. State economists say far less, and that's not the only reason gaming committee chairman Dennis Jones is going slow.

"It's going to take a little time just to put something, a regulatory scheme together, to have it function properly," he siad. "So I think, you know, to proceed with caution is probably the best advice to give at this time."

Another issue to contend with is that the Seminole tribe now has the exclusive right to run Vegas-style card games. If the resort casinos are built, that deal could be rendered void and Florida would lose out on hundreds-of-millions in shared tribal revenue.

Social conservatives and religious groups are coming out to oppose the bill. They say casinos would generate crime and lead to addictions.


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