American land-based casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corporation has reportedly pumped approximately $17 million into an effort that could see a large gambling-friendly development brought to the northern Florida city of Jacksonville.
According to a Wednesday report from the news domain at FloridaPolitics.com, the donation revealed earlier this week was in support of a local political action committee (PAC) known as Florida Voters in Charge, which takes a pro-gambling stance on public ballot initiatives in ‘The Sunshine State’.
Although Las Vegas Sands Corporation reportedly confirmed the contribution, it refused to offer any further specifics other than to declare that it was ‘contemplating various options’ and had no intention of asking the southern state to violate its recently-agreed gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. This new arrangement was purportedly signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in late-May and would give the federally-recognized tribe a statewide monopoly on craps, roulette and retail sportsbetting from as soon as October alongside permission to build and run up to three new casinos.
However, this fresh agreement must still be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission before the expiration of an August 5 deadline and is reportedly already the subject of a federal lawsuit brought by the owner of one of the state’s largest commercial casinos. This deal could purportedly moreover be in jeopardy via an effort being backed by DraftKings Incorporated and FanDuel Group that is seeking voter approval to bring commercial online sportsbetting to Florida.
FloridaPolitics.com reported that Florida Voters in Charge is advocating for a pair of ballot initiatives that would, subject to voter approval, allow firms willing to make a nine-figure investment to bring as many as three new casinos to locations in northern Florida. Jacksonville is the state’s most populous city with well over 1.5 million inhabitants and is purportedly being seen as the obvious choice for anyone wanting to bring gambling to the jurisdiction’s northern half.
The first proposition from Florida Voters in Charge would reportedly authorize a trio of Florida cardrooms to open fully-fledged casinos so long as these facilities were each at least 130 miles away from tribal lands and cost a minimum of $250 million to build. The PAC’s purported second scheme, which would be open to out-of-state operators via a competitive bidding processes, similarly calls for three new gambling-friendly developments only with 100-mile and $500 million provisions.
FloridaPolitics.com reported that Las Vegas Sands Corporation has long lobbied for permission to bring a casino to Florida although all of its earlier efforts had involved the southern end of the state around the city of Miami. But these efforts largely dried up after 2018 when voters approved a constitutional amendment that now obliges legislators to get statewide approval via a referendum before okaying any new commercial gambling expansion.