Blaise Ingoglia bill could open gambling options in the state

gambling gaming cards chips
Pay particular attention to South Florida, where the owner of the Fontainebleau has eyed building a casino.

Sen. Blaise Ingoglia is betting big on a new gaming bill that could see new major venues open casinos, regardless of local government opposition.

The legislation (SB 1054) would allow existing gaming permit holders to move operations to a different location within 30 miles. And the legislation would allow those permit holders to ignore any local regulations barring such a transfer.

One primary beneficiary from the legislation would be billionaire Jeffrey Soffer, who owns the Big Easy Casino in Hallandale Beach. Soffer’s family also owns the iconic Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach and has pushed for legislation allowing a casino to open there.

Ingoglia’s bill would allow Soffer to make such a move. The legislation does restrict new gaming options in a way, saying a permit cannot be moved to a location within 15 minutes of Seminole Tribe of Florida-operated casinos in Hollywood. The Seminole Tribe of Florida recently agreed to a new Gaming Compact with the state, which is fully coming online now after a slate of legal challenges.

The Fontainebleau Hotel, however, is outside that 15-mile radius from the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s nearby Hollywood casino.

The city of Miami has opposed such a move, however. “It’s an existential threat to our community,” said former Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber in comments to the Miami Herald.

“If the Legislature goes along with (the bill) and the courts fail to do their job, there’s no way this will simply be a single casino,” Gelber said.

Gelber is referencing a 2018 constitutional amendment, where Florida voters approved a measure requiring any gaming expansions to be approved by the voters via ballot referendum unless that expansion only deals with gaming “on tribal lands.”

That same provision has led to a state-level lawsuit against the Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state, as that agreement allows for mobile sports betting. But the Seminole Tribe of Florida has said a referendum was unnecessary, as the servers hosting those bets are on tribal lands.

However, Gelber and other opponents to new casinos would argue that Ingoglia’s proposal would need to be approved by voters. Even so, many other anti-gaming advocates would likely oppose the bill’s efforts to override any local regulations that ban gaming expansion.

So far, no House lawmaker has filed a companion to Ingoglia’s bill, which the Senator filed on Thursday. The 2024 Legislative Session begins on Jan. 9.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Kevin McBride

    December 22, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    I personally know Blaise. He’s a gambling addict who wastes a lot of his money at the casino and in poker tournaments. I’m sure this is some kind of shady deal he made with the Seminole tribe to absolve some of his debt.

  • Double-take

    December 22, 2023 at 5:00 pm

    Not the best photo selected to accompany this article…

  • Julia

    December 22, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    I just got paid 7268 Dollars Working off my Laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, My Divorced friend has twin toddlers and made 0ver $ 13892 her first m0nth. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to as20 work for so much less.

    This is what I do……………………….> > >

  • ScienceBLVR

    December 22, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    Another enormous rip off of people dump enough to engage.. the House always wins folks, and there is another sucker born every minute. It’s just so disgusting when our government enables profiteers and con men to take advantage of the weak and enrich themselves in the process. Can’t legalize weed, but this craps okay?

Comments are closed.


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