Las Vegas Sands pushing for Florida casino, but gaming expansion still stalled


Las Vegas Sands Corp. hasn’t given up on Florida.

On Tuesday, the casino company’s Florida lobbyist told state lawmakers they should “go big” in an expansion of gaming in the state.

According to the Sunshine State News, Nick Iarossi, a lobbyist for Las Vegas Sands, told Florida’s House Select Committee on Gaming that the state should provide incentives for destination-resort developers, such as creating a tax rate that allows casino companies to build large scale resorts.

Las Vegas Sands was one of several gaming companies that expressed interest in building a hotel-casino complex in the Miami area last year. Florida lawmakers, however, scuttled any gaming expansion legislation, which had been met with opposition by conservative groups, the Disney Corp., and the Seminole Indian Tribe, which operates seven casinos in Florida, including two under the Hard Rock brand

In a note to investors Wednesday, Union Gaming Group Managing Director Bill Lerner held out little hope that Florida would make any move toward expanding its casino industry this year.

Lerner said state lawmakers wouldn’t make any moves in Florida until next year, at the earliest.

“We don’t expect the state legislature to make any near-term decisions,” Lerner said. Florida wants a comprehensive study (lottery, pari-mutuel, casinos, internet cafes, and tribal compacts) conducted on gaming, which could take the majority of the summer, or much longer.”