It's already one of the most visited states in the US, the home of Disney World and the chosen retirement destination for most of the American middle class. But if a group of senators get their way, Florida could also be home to large Vegas-style casinos - a new initiative to increase the state's conference revenue and encourage gambling fans to make their vacations locally.
The proposed legislation, filed by Floridian senators Dennis Jones and Maria Sachs last Friday, would allow for up to five casino-resort complexes which would have to contain at least 1,000 rooms and 500,000 square feet of meeting space. Currently, the largest casinos in the state, owned by the indigenous Seminole people, have around 500 rooms.
The senators estimate the five casinos could bring in an extra 5 million new visitors to Florida each year, as well as encouraging more of its 3.5 million citizens who venture out of state for gambling trips to stay local. The large-scale meeting facilities could see the state take a bigger slice of trade show revenue, too. Right now we're not a major player in the trade show industry, said Jones, who heads the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, responsible for gambling permissions in the state. And if the Legislature thinks this bill is worthy, they'll help move it along.
The news comes after reports of significant recovery in the state's property industry, particularly in Miami, where cut-price repossessed homes are attracting growing numbers of overseas investors. The bill allows for one of the casinos to be in the Miami area, which could see an added boost to the local real estate market.
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