Destination Resort Casinos in South Florida

January 5, 2012

There is concern that more gambling will undermine Florida’s efforts to attract businesses with “high wage, high skilled” jobs as well as tarnish Florida’s family-friendly image.

There is the attraction of billions of dollars in resort-casino investment when Florida’s economy is down, unemployment is up, and we’re facing a $2.6 billion budget cut. At the same time, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has threatened to stop paying the state the $1 billion agreed to over five years if they lose their exclusive rights to blackjack and baccarat.

The racinos with slot machines are waging a separate battle because they pay a 35 percent tax rate to the state and under SB 710 (“the gambling bill”) sponsored by Representative Erik Fresen (Miami) and Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff (Fort Lauderdale), the three new proposed casinos will pay a 10 percent rate.

Florida is already the fourth largest gaming state in the nation. Is it too late to control gambling in South Florida?

SPONSOR: Sun Sentinel


Dan Adkins is vice president and CEO for Hartman and Tyner, Inc. who owns Mardi Gras Gaming. He spearheaded the campaign to bring legal casino gambling to Broward County’s four pari-mutuel facilities.

Carol Dover is president and CEO of the more than 10,000-member Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and is based in Tallahassee. Dover is a professional association manager, a lobbyist, a former government insider, and a Florida State University Dedman School of Hospitality graduate with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.

Nick Iarossi is a lobbyist for Las Vegas Sands and a government consultant with Capital Consulting in Tallahassee. He supports building a casino and convention destination resort in Broward County.

MODERATOR:     Anthony Fins, Editor, Sun-Sentinel