HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Leaders and business owners in South Florida are weighing in as lawmakers begin talks over a casino-gaming compact.
Last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe reached an agreement that would allow the tribe to offer sports gambling, craps and roulette at their seven casinos, including the Hard Rock in Hollywood.READ MORE: BSO Seeks Man For Armed Burglary With Attemped Sexual Battery Of Child In Cooper City
City of Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy spoke during Monday’s special session in Tallahassee and touted the services to the tribe the city provides.
Levy does not want a smaller cut for Hollywood of the state revenue that would come from the compact.
“Because we have so many more intertwined dealings and business provided to the Seminole reservation and our city is still 80% around the reservation, we ought to maintain the 55% allocation,” said Levy.
The deal is estimated to give the state a $2.5 billion boost over the first five years, plus at least $6 billion dollars from the tribe by 2030.
Over 2,000 jobs are expected to be created as well.
But some, like Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber say the good news for casinos would be bad news for small businesses.READ MORE: 'This Is Horrifying': Broward Mayor Steve Geller Urges Vaccinations As COVID Cases Climb
“It is a cancer on a community,” said Gelber during a news conference on Monday. “It destroys the quality of our neighborhoods; it alters the fabric of your community.”
Steve Sawitz, owner of Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant on Washington Ave. backs Mayor Gelber.
“Why would we want it, it’s going to hurt us,” said Sawitz.
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told CBS4 that this special session will not bring gambling to Miami Beach or Trump National Doral Miami.
Even if Miami Beach is off the poker table, Mayor Gelber said if passed, the compact would violate Amendment 3, which gives voters the right to authorize casino gambling in the state.
“The citizens of the state of Florida said very simply loudly to the Florida legislature that we don’t want you putting gambling in our backyards, we don’t want you putting it in our phones, we want to have a say,” said Gelber.
The session opened little more than two weeks after the Legislature’s annual 60-day session ended. House Speaker Chris Sprowls announced to members that DeSantis and the tribe amended the original compact signed April 23 to remove language requiring the state to negotiate a potential deal to allow online casino games. The tribe also agreed not to begin sports betting until Oct. 15.MORE NEWS: Broward Teachers Concerned As COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Increase
If approved by the Legislature and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations, the 30-year agreement will allow the tribe to offer sports betting at its casinos and to operate sports wagering at horse tracks, jai-alai frontons and former dog tracks for a share of the income.