At a Tuesday rally, a South Florida pastor called on state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff — who filed a bill that would allow resort casinos in Florida — “to take the bill off the table,” saying, “In its place, let’s build a stronger Florida, that is family-oriented.”
“Rather than the Joan of Arc of conservative values she has become the Lady Godiva of high price gambling,” Mark Boykin, the senior pastor of Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, said. He added that the bill will create a gaming commission to “allow three multi billion casinos in Broward and Dade counties.”
The bill filed by Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, would, according to The Miami Herald, allow three “full Las Vegas-style games” in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The Herald adds that “casinos would pay 10 percent tax on net revenues,” “less than the 35 percent tax rate now imposed on the revenues of the state’s eight pari-mutuels with slot machine licenses in South Florida.”
Watch footage of the Boykin event:
Boykin added during the rally outside Bogdanoff”s office that he is asking the attorney general’s office to “investigate the probity and legitimacy of this proposal” and “asking for full disclosure of campaign contributions from the gaming lobbyists to the architects of this bill.”
“We would like to know if the 162-page bill was indeed crafted by Sen. Bogdanoff and her staff or is this a standard template produced by the gaming lobbyists,” Boykin added.
The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday that “gambling businesses and anti-gambling groups have spent up to $2.6 million on lobbyists in the third quarter of this year, according to recently released lobbying financial disclosure forms.”
The Post adds that “Genting Americas … spent up to $430,000 on lobbyists in the quarter ending Sept. 30,” while its competitor Las Vegas Sands “spent up to $165,996 spent on lobbyists during the same quarter.”
The Post also notes:
Tracking how much is spent on lobbyists is an imperfect science. Lobbyists only report income in ranges, so all figures in this article represent the upper cap. Also, some lobbying firms may report their income twice under legislative and executive lobbying, which are intended to be reported separately. These figures also don’t include in-house lobbyists that may work exclusively for a given business or organization.
The business lobby group Associated Industries of Florida announced last week that passage of the bill will be among its “2012 legislative priorities,” and it “plans to aggressively lobby for legislation that will allow up to three destination resorts in South Florida, create up to 100,000 jobs for Floridians and bring billions in revenue to the state.”
Associated Industries also launched a new campaign, More Jobs for Florida, ”dedicated to the destination resort issue.”
Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, told the Orlando Sentinel “the chamber will fight any plans to expand gambling during the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 10.”