Big gaming companies have eyes set on Fla.

Published On: Mar 19 2014 04:43:01 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Large gaming companies have plans on making Florida a new type of casino destination state.

A proposal in the House Gaming committee won't leave those decisions up to lawmakers.

“We are a gambling state in Florida but whether or not we expand that gambling footprint is so important," said Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach. "It’s one of very few questions that should be sent to the people of Florida.”

Representative Matt Gaetz's bill would allow voters to decide during elections what action the state should take on the expansion of gaming and when.

Some committee members were concerned that leaving a vote up to the people would take the power out of lawmakers hands.

"If we go forward with this legislation we are abdicating our duty, our job as legislators,” said Gaetz.

Rep. James Waldman isn’t sure that leaving the vote up to the people might tie the legislator’s hands with gaming problems in the future.

“Our job is actually to make the laws and make sure we handle things properly," said Waldman. "If we do this, and according to the amendment, we will not be able to change anything we see wrong going down the line.”

Supporters of the constitutional amendment say this would eliminate special interest groups from throwing money around and getting their vote passed. Rep. Erik Fresen is worried it would do the complete opposite.

“It’s going to be a nuclear arms race to do a 30 second ad and a mail piece for every single constitutional ballot that’s put there," said Fresen.

Even with the concerns, the committee moved to allow voters to have gaming expansion control starting in 2015. The house committee also voted for a gaming package that would establish the Gaming Control Commission to oversee all gambling operations in the state.

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