Pinellas commissioners to discuss referendum on slots
Fresh out of the legislative scrum Friday over gaming and destination casino resorts, Pinellas County commissioners will take up a request for a referendum on allowing slot machines at local pari mutuel gambling locations, specifically the Derby Lane greyhound racing venue.
But Commissioners Susan Latvala and Ken Welch said they aren't locked into any position. The agenda item for Tuesday's meeting is procedural to keep their options open with legislation (SB 382) during this session, they said.
"We don’t know what’s going to happen in the Legislature. That bill may go nowhere," said County Administrator Bob LaSala, who expects no decision will be made at Tuesday's meeting.
The request came from officials with Derby Lane, emails show. After Derby Lane approached Commissioner Susan Latvala, the county agreed to set up a discussion. Under legislation in Tallahassee, the county faced a deadline to begin considering the ballot measure, which could be similar to referenda in Gadsden and Washington counties.
"All that we’re doing is preserving our right to discuss it in the future, if the dog track wants to do it. Richard wasn’t sure he wants to," said Latvala, referring to Richard Winning, vice president of Derby Lane.
Gary Rutledge, a Tallahassee attorney for Derby lane, wrote to Latvala: "Obviously, if Pinellas County authorizes a referendum, such election would be held later this year, i.e., the General Election in November."
Agenda item below.