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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Miami Beach officials say they don't want a casino, SoFla sports teams say they do



Miami Beach commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose any expansion of gambling and urge the Florida legislature to reject a bill that would open up South Florida to destination casino resorts.

According to the resolution passed Wednesday, Miami Beach contends that gaming carries “severe and painful economic and social costs,” “promotes corruption of the governmental process,” and would “exacerbate traffic.”

The vote continues a series of anti-casino votes during the past three years by the Miami Beach commission. It would likely discourage casino operators from eyeing property in the city should the current destination casino resorts bill pass in Tallahassee, because the bill currently requires local approval before a gaming license can be issued.

That means Steve Wynn, the owner of Las Vegas' Wynn Resorts who reportedly offered to pay for the city’s ambitious Miami Beach Convention Center expansion project during meetings last month with city officials, would need to look elsewhere to build a casino. Story here.

Meanwhile, add the Florida Panthers to the list of South Florida professional sports teams that like the potential synergies between casino gambling and sports.

The National Hockey League team has taken several Las Vegas casino operators on tours of the Sunrise property and discussed the possibility of building a destination resort casino on the land surrounding the arena if Florida legislators approve an expansion of casino gambling. The plan is similar to one being explored by the Miami Dolphins.

Representatives from Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International confirmed they have looked at the property. Wynn Resorts has also visited the site. Story here.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 11:51am]


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