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14 posts from February 27, 2013

February 27, 2013

Gambling interests convene meeting, but future of expanded games remains murky

The expansion of casino gambling in Florida will not be on the agenda when the state Legislature convenes next week, but discussion about the industry’s future here is heating up once again.

A group of Wall Street analysts on Tuesday at the Florida Gaming Congress agreed it’s not a question of if destination gambling resorts will arrive in Florida, only when it will happen.

The analysts consensus prediction: at least two or three resorts in South Florida and possibly double that statewide, will open for business by 2020, with Genting Group, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts the most likely players at least in South Florida. But getting there is not going to be an easy, as was evident at Tuesday’s event held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. The annual event, sponsored by Spectrum Gaming Group, drew about 150 industry executives, analysts, attorneys, lobbyists and government leaders to discuss the state of gambling in Florida.

“The Miami market is extremely attractive,” said Greg Roselli, executive director of credit fixed income with UBS Securities. “The defeat last year wasn’t surprising. They’re going to have to keep picking away at it.”

Carlo Santarelli, director of gaming and lodging research for Deutsche Bank Securities agreed, “The problem is going to be finding a solution that makes everyone happy.”

Competing interests torpedoed the effort last year and based on the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting it doesn’t seem like a whole lot has changed. Agendas still vary among the various players: the large Las Vegas and Asian gambling companies, the existing pari-mutuel facilities, the Seminole Tribe and business groups like the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Miami-Dade County’s Beacon Council.

The leaders of the Florida House and Senate put a moratorium on any gambling legislation this year, in order to conduct a thorough study of the issue. The legislature last week issued a joint solicitation for vendors willing to perform a detailed market study, which is due to be completed by October.

More from the Miami Herald's Elaine Walker here. 

 

PolitiFact reviews Adam Putnam's claim about Medicaid and jobs

In an about-face, Gov. Rick Scott announcedthat he would support a massive Medicaid expansion, providing health care coverage to an additional million Floridians thanks to billions of federal dollars. Back in 2010, the Republican governor ran on a platform of calling Obamacare a "job-killer."

Scott’s decision led to criticism from fellow Republicans, including Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

"The expansion of Medicaid in FL does not create jobs or strengthen our infrastructure," wrote Putnam on Twitter on Feb. 21. "And it will cost Florida $5B over the next 10 years."

Typically when we hear about a massive influx of federal dollars into a state -- whether to build light rail, improve schools or, in this case, sign up one million poor people for health insurance -- folks start salivating over job creation predictions.

We wanted to explore Putnam’s claim that the federally funded Medicaid expansion won’t create jobs in Florida. The evidence we found suggests Putnam is wrong, but it's far from certain. Health care is a complicated field, and the way the a Medicaid expansion will play out on the state level in Florida increases the uncertainty.

Instead of a Truth-O-Meter rating, PolitiFact provided an overview of the research we found and what experts had to say.

Eye on White House, Marco Rubio has "first date" with Wall Street-funding elite

Politico:

NEW YORK — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is moving swiftly behind the scenes to lock down some of Wall Street’s biggest donors ahead of the 2016 presidential race.

In recent weeks, the rising GOP star and possible 2016 hopeful has quietly met with some of the most powerful GOP backers in the world of high finance. The roster includes Blackstone Group Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. CEO Henry Kravis and senior executives at Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital, among others.

Rubio has gotten backing from big Wall Street titans before, notably hedge fund manager and billionaire Paul Singer. But the fresh round of private meetings with top names has Wall Street buzzing about Rubio’s future plans.

More here

GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen signs pro-gay marriage brief

Gay South Florida:

From U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, one of about 75 leading Republicans now supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples:


Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2013/02/ros-lehtinen-on-gay-marriage-ban-were-calling-on-the-supreme-court-to-correct-this-injustice.html#storylink=cpy

“I have joined many other Republicans in signing a legal brief demonstrating that the right to marry should be constitutionally supported for all Americans. It isn’t correct to unfairly restrict the rights of equality and justice upon which our great nation was founded. We’re calling on the Supreme Court to correct this injustice and to bestow constitutional freedoms for all. We have taken a historic stride toward equality with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. I have also supported other pro-equality legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. It should not be constitutional that we continue to deny to LGBT Americans rights enjoyed by others. We must act now to ensure the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution are applied to all Americans.”


Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2013/02/ros-lehtinen-on-gay-marriage-ban-were-calling-on-the-supreme-court-to-correct-this-injustice.html#storylink=cpy