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Supreme Court is Rejecting Slot Machine Massive Expansion

Posted by Samantha A. on Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It was a major defeat for the counties that sought to approve slot machines by referendum.  On this past Thursday the Florida State Supreme Court ruled that these counties actually have no legal right to ask their voters to approve any slot machines at any of the already existing jai-alai frontons or race tracks.  They need to gain constitutional or legislative approval before hand.

Gadsden County Case

Gretna Racing owners located in Gadsden County brought a case to the court which upheld the initial decision that was placed by the Florida Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering that denied a slot machine license.  With the argument that state laws do not actually allow counties to conduct referendums in order to allow slot machine gaming. 

This decision was signed by a total of 6 justices which included the very newest justice Alan C. Lawson.  Lawson did not actually participate within the oral arguments that took place tis past June.  Also, Justice Peggy Quince recused herself from the discussion due to the fact that her daughter is employed by the gaming division of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

Slot Machine Statute Modification

As the ruling was heard, lawyers for Gretna argued that when the Legislature made modifications to the slot statute in order to allow Hialeah Park to operate such slot machines, this actually opened the doors for other counties to seek voter approval to operate slot machines to their already existing facilities. 

Canady made the returning argument that while slot machine operation is actually permitted is permitted under restrictions that are very tight as it is stated in Legislature in Chapter 551, there is nothing that states or grants permission in order to regulate slot machine operation in other counties.  The only actual role that each county plays in regards to the slot machine operation is conducting referenda when they have been authorized to do so.

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