Florida Supreme Court Bars Slot Machine Expansion in Lee, 7 Other Counties

May 22, 2017

The power to expand gambling, including slot machines, belongs exclusively to Florida lawmakers, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled last week, signaling an end to efforts by Lee and other counties to expand gambling and slot machine games through local voter referenda.

At the heart of the Supreme Court case was an effort in Gadsden County, a panhandle community of roughly 47,000 people, to expand slot machines after approval by county voters. The local vote appeared to violate an agreement between the state and the Seminole Tribe, which was promised exclusive rights to slots and card games for would could be a 20-year contract.

News Service of Florida reporter Dara Kam joins the show to explain how a decision to add horse racing at a small panhandle facility known at Gretna Racing ultimately led to a Supreme Court challenge over gambling licensing for all of Florida, how that decision will impact gambling in Lee and other counties, and what the decision means for Florida moving forward.