A few Florida lawmakers want to make casinos a tourist magnet like the Magic Kingdom.
"Basically, we could become the Disney of gaming," said Florida Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican, to the the Naples Daily News. "Disney was built here and brings in tourists from around the world. Gaming can do the same thing."
Bogdanoff is co-sponsor of a bill to permit three multi-billion-dollar, Las Vegas-style resort casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Coincidentally, representatives for Walt Disney World have voiced strong opposition to expanded gambling, due to fear it would tarnish the state's family-friendly image, reported the Sun Sentinel.
Gov. Rick Scott has said he does not want the state budget to be reliant on gaming revenues.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, however, is more open-minded to expanded gaming. "If someone's interested in investing $2 billion in the state of Florida, I think we're probably going to listen."
Leaders of Las Vegas Sands, who are already scouting resort sites around the Miami area, think their company can make a $2 billion to $4 billion investment in Florida and create 8,000 to 16,000 direct jobs.
Genting has gone as far as to purchase bayfront property in Miami in hopes of building a casino.
New resort-style casinos may put existing gaming facilities at stake, including 23 parimutuel betting sites, poker rooms, slots, and eight Indian casinos—chiefly, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa.