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Attorney General Argues Against Florida Vote on Slot Approval By Countywide Referendum

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In an advisory opinion on January 12, Attorney General Pam Bondi wrote that Florida cannot issue slot machine licenses to pari-mutuel facilities outside Miami-Dade and Broward counties, even if residents vote in favor of a law allowing for approval of slots through countywide referendums, reported the Associated Press.

Gadsden and Washington counties are scheduled to put the issue to vote for the January 31 presidential primary. Palm Beach and Hamilton, and potentially other counties, have planned similar votes for later this year.

Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, agreed with Bondi, noting permitting slot machines or passing another law to allow a slots referendum outside of Miami-Dade or Broward Counties would violate the state's compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The tribe, which operates Seminole Casino in four locations as well as the Seminole Hard Rock hotels and casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, has exclusive rights to slot machines outside Miami-Dade and Broward.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates pari-mutuel wagering, intends to follow Bondi's guidelines, said Ken Lawson, the department's secretary.