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NEWS 19 May 2017
Florida Supreme Court rules against slot expansion
By Caroline Watson
A Florida Supreme Court decision has ruled 6-0 against the expansion of slot machines across the state.

The Court found that counties do not have the legal authority to ask voters to approve slot machines at dog or horse race tracks, upholding the decision by the Florida Division of Parimutuel Wagering to deny a slots license.

The unanimous ruling has restricted slot machines to the two destinations where they are already in place, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. However, at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, which has long sought to get in on the casino actions, slot machines will remain out of reach.

Similarly to Palm Beach, six other counties voted in favour to approve slot machines, however the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

Justice Charles Canady comments: “There must be ‘statutory or constitutional authorisation’ for any countywide referendum approving slot machines at qualifying pari-mutuel facilities. The authorisation must be found elsewhere in the law. And it is nowhere to be found.

“In the absence of such specific authorisation, a county cannot initiate a referendum that will authorise the Division to issue a license any more than the county could itself issue a slot machine gaming license.”

In a 2004 amendment passed by voters, Boward and Miami-Dade counties were authorised to approve slot machines.

Earlier this year, the Florida Senate approved a bill that would have permitted slot machines in all eight counties. However, House Republicans refused to agree with the proposal and thus the bill died.
RELATED TAGS: Land-Based | Casino | Legal & Regulatory
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