Lobbying efforts for a destination casino in Florida by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation have come to an end.
Company heads along with Chairman Sheldon Anderson of the Paradise, Nevada, based company that operates casinos in Macau, Singapore, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas, made the decision over the weekend to end its efforts to bring a destination casino to the state, according to Florida lobbyist for the Sands, Nick Larossi. The lobbyist said that various public relations and lobbying contracts have been being cancelled since Monday, his included. Larossi said, “I understand their perspective,” and that, “We’ve been pushing this for six years with no success,” according to floridapolitics.com.
Eyeing the Sunshine State for some time, Adelson wanted to bring the Las Vegas style gambling, luxury rooms, upscale retail and restaurants and conventions space of an integrated resort to the state.
The decision was made as preparations were being made for a meeting on Wednesday between executives for Sands and lawmakers in Georgia regarding authorization of a destination casino in Atlanta. Sands vice president for government relations Andy Abboud said he wasn’t sure exactly just how much the company had invested in lobbying, public relations and other consulting for a Florida casino, but that, “No matter who wanted it, they weren’t going to get destination gaming in Florida; it doesn’t matter who you are.”
Over the years several attempts have been made to try to convince legislators that the integrated resort casino market was the right move for Florida, including former state Senator Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff’s 2012 push for three destination hotel-casinos in South Florida, and an effort earlier this year by state Rep. Dana Young of Tampa who sponsored similar legislation, both of which died in session. Bogdanoff said that while she understands that addressing the issue of gambling in the state and overhauling its antiquated laws and regulations is something nobody wants to tackle, it still needs to be fixed.
Still in mediation was the possible renewal of the Seminole Compact, an agreement between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida giving it exclusive rights to offer blackjack in Florida, which according to Larossi, influenced the Sands decision to end its lobbying efforts.