Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida's gambling industry: Who wants to bet it's about to expand?

Florida is still trying to figure out how big a role gambling should play in its economy.

Indian tribe casinos here generated a substantial $2.2 billion in revenues in 2011. That sum placed the state fourth nationwide in Indian gaming revenue. But it leaves Florida facing stiff new competition from other states and, this week, new challenges from Internet gambling.

Florida gaming revenues from the eight Seminole and Miccosukee tribe casinos surpassed those generated in Connecticut in 2011. Yet Washington leapfrogged both states to rank No. 3 nationwide behind California and Oklahoma. Just out, the 2011 rankings appear in the annual "Indian Gaming Industry Report" published by Casino City Press.

According to analyst Alan Meister, the report's author, Florida revenues grew because of more table games like blackjack in South Florida casinos, and the opening of the gambling room targeted at Asians at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa.

The Tampa casino is the Seminoles' biggest moneymaker and Central Florida's only major casino.

"It doesn't hurt to be in the market by ourselves, I'll tell you that," John Fontana, president of Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock complex, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Fontana delivered Wednesday's opening address at the Florida Gaming Congress held in Hollywood.

Nationwide, Indian gaming revenues in 2011 topped $27 billion.

An industry curveball was thrown this week when New Jersey became the biggest state yet to permit regulated online gambling. The New Jersey law requires online gamblers to be physically in the state. But the law leaves open the possibility of adding other willing states through compacts.

Only a year ago, the federal government was busy targeting online gambling operations and their partners with criminal and civil lawsuits.

Federal prosecutors had clamped down on some high-flying online gambling sites, including one called Absolute Poker funded with family money from St. Petersburg.

Now the U.S. Justice Department has changed its mind and no longer treats online gambling as a criminal enterprise.

So far, gambling observers seem split on whether Florida is poised for another round of gambling expansion.

After lobbying by Indian casinos, state legislators last year defeated efforts by Malaysia's Genting Group to win Las Vegas-style "destination gambling" in South Florida.

Expanding casino gambling is not supposed to be on the state's agenda when Florida's Legislature convenes Tuesday. Tallahassee leaders instead seek a study of the state gambling industry by Oct. 1.

Florida's gambling future is hardly clear. The Sunshine State News service suggests online betting is a back-burner issue here. Bloomberg News reports it's front-burner news.

The Miami Herald now reports that discussion about the industry's future in Florida is heating up once again. The paper says a group of Wall Street analysts 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.

Contact Robert Trigaux at trigaux@tampabay.com.

Top 5 states by Indian

gaming revenue, 2011

StateRevenuePercent of U.S. total
California$6.9 billion25.2
Oklahoma$3.5 billion12.7
Washington$2.2 billion7.9
Florida$2.2 billion7.9
Connecticut$2 billion 7.3
StateRevenuePercent of U.S. total
California$6.9 billion25.2
Oklahoma$3.5 billion12.7
Washington$2.2 billion7.9
Florida$2.2 billion7.9
Connecticut$2 billion 7.3

Source: Casino City's 2013 Indian Gaming Industry Report

Florida's gambling industry: Who wants to bet it's about to expand? 02/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation

    Business

    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  4. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  5. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion

    National

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]