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Florida gaming expansion

Updated: Tuesday, March 19 2013, 12:01 PM CDT
Florida gaming expansion story image
Representatives from some of the world's largest casinos are pushing Florida lawmakers for a gaming expansion,
Lawmakers are vowing to move slowly on the issue.

It's a classroom of sorts. The students, members of the Senate Committee on Gaming. The teachers, lobbyists for some of the largest casinos in the world.

Donn Mitchell / Ilse of Capri Casinos
"Let me give you a little bit of numbers to back up what I'm saying."

State lawmakers have promised to spend the year studying gaming, to avoid going all-in on an expansion without all the details.

Sen. Maria Sachs / D-
Reporter: Do you really believe that no legislation will come out of this committee this year?
Sachs: You never know.
Vice Chairman of the Senate Gaming Committee Maria Sachs says the issue needs to be explored in depth.

Sen. Maria Sachs / D-
"We as a state need to make sure that we have thoroughly vetted it before we reach any decisions."

Whitney Ray / Reporter
Despite the small odds for gaming legislation this year, mega casino organizers and their opponents aren't taking any chances.  They're here at the state capitol making their cases. 

John Sowinski, President of No, isn't taking anything for granted.

John Sowinski /
"You have to be on guard always.  We have to vigilant always because if the other side sees and opportunity they will seize it."

But it's not just anti-gaming groups opposing an expansion.  The Seminole Indians, which operated seven Florida casinos, are also in opposition.  They worry new mega casinos would cut their profits.

And they have good reason to be afraid.  Genting Malaysia, the largest casino corporation in the world, spent 300 million dollars for prime land in Miami.  Now they just need the go ahead from state lawmakers to build this mega casino.

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