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The Florida State Supreme Court is locked in a contentious issue. The court is deciding about the legality of slot machines specifically outside of the Seminole Indian Reservation Casinos and outside Dade and Broward Counties. The greater issue for the Sprememe Court includes the contract with the Seminole Nation operating legal casinos in the state and whether additional gambling facilities would damage the Seminole Nation and their casino business. Also to be determined in Jacksonville is an approval for Best Bet to operate slot machines at their facility near the Regency Mall.
The Sunshine State has been growing at an ever increasing pace. Its position as a tourist mecca is dominant. There are the Keys for fishing, Orlando for Disneyland, the Gold Coast for sampling an international city, Miami, on the grow. Walk through the numerous malls and shopping centers and listen to the mix of languages. Florida has it all; including gambling. Jai Alia frontons and horse tracks throughout the state offer betting as an integral part of the fun. The Seminole Indian Federation has built numerous casinos in southeast and southwest Florida in conjunction with a popular entertainment franchise. Because of the tourist mecca status of Miami, the legislation approved the use of slot machines throughout the Dade and Brevard County areas.
The state is now examining a bill in Jacksonville to allow the Best Bet company to operate slot machine in a facility they control on Monument Road across from the Regency Mall. This bill if approved will give the voters an opportunity to have legalized gambling in Jacksonville, called the “First City” because it is the northernmost city in Florida easily seen when traveling down the I-95 Corridor and entering the Sunshine State, Jacksonville exists as the ugly sister to the other dynamic cities in the state of Florida. The city has had conservative views in the past and is a city far removed from the international city of Miami with it Jai Alai frontons, horse and dog tracks, and legalized slot machines.
Visit the Seminole Indian reservation gambling facilities that the tribe has established with the help and branding of the Hard Rock Cafe franchise and see the beginning of legalized gambling in Florida at a level comparable to Las Vegas. Some of the Indian reserve gambling facilities have been substandard in the past, but these new co-ventures with the Hard Rock Cafe are excellent. Las Vegas may be watching the establishment of South Florida as a gambling empire with envious eyes. The desert where Las Vegas began its existence was just that, a desert. Lake Mead was close by, but the only reason to go to Las Vegas was for the gambling. Miami has the Keys, world class offshore fishing, a vibrant Latin music scene in South Beach, and it is a major destination for peoples coming from South and Central America and Europe and Asia. Miami has the Dolphins and the Marlins not just swimming offshore but playing professional sports. A world class tennis tournament takes place annually at Cranston Park and anyone who doubts the world class rating for Miami only has to attend this one sporting event to see the assemblage of the jet set and the “beautiful people.”
Gambling in Florida is an integral part of the tourist experience and the success Miami and the South Florida area have experienced will only continue unless hampered by another series of hurricanes that could again impact the area.
Legislatures throughout the state are discussing the idea of the legalization of some aspects of gambling. These legislatures have seen the writing on the walls. There is a move toward online gambling going on in the world which is perfect for areas without any casinos or gambling facilities but for a state like Florida whose future indicates that there will be much more development of gambling facilities with state regulation, the idea of online gambling is counterproductive. This will become a contentious issue as the state moves closer to statewide gambling in a casino structure following the lead of the Seminole Indian and Hard Rock Cafe co-ventures.
The Panhandle and Jacksonville will benefit most from new legislation allowing an easing of laws governing slot machines and further casino development. The Seminole Nation has developed the south and sections in the middle of the state, but there remains a lot of the Sunshine State left to develop.