While everyone was busy watching Florida legislators fail to pass a new gambling law in the past few days, Miami Beach Commissioners sneakily banned casinos in their jurisdiction.
The Miami Herald reported that Beach officials quietly initiated a change in city zoning that would shut down any casino applications.
The commissioners are said to be railroading the passage of two anti-casino ordinances. Six commissioners, who voiced their opposition to expand gaming both in Miami Beach and across Miami-Dade county, unanimously voted to send the twin ordinances to the citizen planning board.
The board will meet on May 11 to form a recommendation on the ordinances that would the change the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning laws to prohibit gaming. The commission would then meet at 2 p.m. the next day for the first of two votes on the changes.
According to the report, some of the commissioners voted in favor of the two ordinances because casino revenues wouldn’t be directed toward education and senior programs. They also pointed out that majority of residents aren’t begging them to bring casinos to Miami Beach.
While all of the elected officials present for the meeting said they strongly oppose casino gaming in Miami Beach, the Fontainebleau Hotel’s lobbyist Alexander Heckler warned of the possible economic repercussions that the ordinance will bring in the jurisdiction.
Heckler further urged the commissioners to perform an economic impact study before proceeding with the zoning change.
“Obviously we know where the will of the commission is, and we are very respectful of that, and we thank you for your time,” Heckler said, according to Miami Beach Patch. “We would ask that you ask your staff, or consult to do a study, to determine what happens if there’s gaming on the other side of the causeway and there’s not gaming here. Or, if you have a small boutique casino here and nothing on the other side of the causeway.”