No casinos for North Florida - for now
It emerged on April 1 that the nonprofit group Florida Voters in Charge was abandoning its campaign to gather signatures in favor of launching casino gambling in North Florida. The nonprofit is funded by Sands Corp - the casino group from Las Vegas, NV.
A statement issued by a spokesperson for the group outlined the decision:
“The Florida Voters in Charge Committee, formed to bring casino gaming and its accompanying economic development benefits to the north Florida region, has begun the process of winding down the committee and its efforts for the 2022 election cycle,”
The announcement suggested that hundreds of thousands of Floridians had signed petitions in favor of bringing casino gambling to North Florida - but it suggests that legal procedures will hinder the group from further pursuing the goal. To-date it has spent $73 million in support of the campaign.
Notably, a sum of $43 million has also been spent by the Seminole Tribe of Florida in opposition - significant as they hold the monopoly on casino gambling in the state, via the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL.
The Seminole Tribe continues to dominate gambling in Florida
The withdrawal by the Sands group from lobbying for casino gambling in North Florida means that the Seminole Tribe continue to dominate the market. They are also expanding into Las Vegas, after buying the Mirage hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip - a deal that was announced in December 2021.
Meanwhile, back in Florida the tribe spent much of 2021 trying to expand into online sports betting across the state. A compact was signed between the tribe and Governor Ron DeSantis that sought to offer statewide online sports betting via a smartphone app which they felt was justifiable since the computer servers hosting the app were based within tribal land.
Unfortunately this was overturned by a U.S. District Judge who ruled that the compact violated state and Federal law, meaning that the app had to be switched off.
For now, it seems that Floridians options if they want to gamble are to visit the Hard Rock casino or continue to play the lottery. Many play the Florida State Lottery and 2022 has seen a large number of big wins for lucky gamblers!
Do you think that it's a good thing that there won't be more casinos in Florida for now, or do you think it's a wasted opportunity that could have created jobs and brought money into the state? Let me know in the comments section below.