Lawmakers can OK slot machines anywhere in Florida
An appeals court has affirmed a ruling that lawmakers can authorize slot machines anywhere in Florida. The decision could open the door to letting the legislature permit casino resorts in the state. Video by fox4now.comvideo
IMMOKALEE - An appeals court has affirmed a ruling that lawmakers can authorize slot machines anywhere in Florida. The decision could open the door to letting the legislature permit casino resorts in the state.
“You’ve got table games, black jack all kinds, all kinds of slot machine from a penny machine to a $25 pull machines,” said Fred Thomas, Executive Director and Eastern Collier Chamber of Commerce.
He thinks the ruling takes a gamble on the economic future of Immokalee. Right now, only the Seminole Indian tribe is allowed to have slot machines. In Broward County, voters approved slots for dog tracks and jai alai frontons through a referendum. The new ruling would mean that it would only take the backing of state lawmakers to allow a facility to install Vegas-Style slots.
That moves concerns Thomas who says it could impact the largest employer in his small town.
“We can make money, the whole community can make money and we can turn the money around in the community like to use to when we were the farming capitol.”
He isn’t the only one concerned about the appellate court’s decision. “It would do a great harm to the Immokalee region if they were allowed casinos to take place in the costal part of Collier or Lee County,” said Commissioner Jim Coletta, who foresees a devastating impact on the town.
There could be more competition on the horizon right now for the Seminole Casino in Immokalee. A developer is proposing a massive resort complex at The Forum in Ft. Myers that will also include a casino. That plan still needs state approval, but if it is given the thumbs up, it could peel away visitors from the casino in Immokalee.
As for the slot machine ruling, it could be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.