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Friday, March 11, 2005

Of Slots, Alligators, Lizards, and Bingo

- What is a slot machine? We knew that once voters approved slots for Broward County, the Florida legislature would debate things like taxes and hours of operations. But now they can’t even agree on exactly what kind of machines was approved!

Proponents are adamant that voters in Broward went to the polls on Tuesday to approve Las Vegas-style slots that are defined in federal law as Class III gaming machines. They dispense money and customers play against the house, as in blackjack, craps, roulette.

Despite all the campaigning that led up to votes last November and last Tuesday, Gov. Jeb Bush and some House leaders only started suggesting Wednesday that the state may want to redefine slots as Class II machines. Currently used in tribal casinos, the lesser classification of video lottery terminals are based on a bingo-style formula in which odds change as each number is pulled and winnings are paid in tickets.

"You can't suddenly call an alligator a lizard," said Jim Horne, a former state education commissioner who has been the chief spokesman for the pro-slots campaign
Class 2 is bingo. Period," said Ron Book, a lobbyist for slots proponents.
You may recall that Governor Bush had previously made comments indicating that he would bow to the will of the people and not be an obstructionist in this matter, but he is not getting off to a good start in that regard. A piece in the Miami Herald today turns the pro-slots’ own words against them in this argument.
The group's website proclaims that "slot machines already exist in Florida at the six Indian casinos and 24 day-cruise boats.

''The big difference,'' the website says, ''is that this will be the first time Florida regulates and taxes slot machines.'' That implies that the campaign sees what the tribes have [Class II] as slot machines. [Miami Herald]

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeb Bush is completely in the pay of the Indian casinos and their Las Vegas allies and apparently will stop at nothing to obstruct the introduction of slots (Class II, Class III, whatever) in the race tracks. The man is considerably more dangerous than his brother, if only because he's smarter (not that that's difficult).

Without slots, Calder will die a lingering death, and Gulfstream will fall prey to real estate developers sooner rather than later.