Fl Supreme Court To Decide Whether Legislative Okay Is Need For Slots

Jun 7, 2016

Credit Jeff Kubina

It’s now up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether a pari-mutuel in Gretna should get to have slot machines.

Gadsden County held a referendum. Voters approved the move and now the pari-mutuel wants its permit. But the Department of Business and Professional Regulation says it can’t give out a permit without legislative approval. Jonathan Williams is the attorney representing the department.

The legislature did not intend to legalize slot machines state-wide when it changed the eligible facility definition,” Williams says.

Williams claims the legislature’s intent was to allow slot machines in Miami Dade and Broward Counties with room for more slots only with legislative approval or a constitutional change. But Gretna Racing’s lawyer argues the legislature chose its words carefully and he says those words lay out a process that includes a local referendum approved by the county commission. He says the Gretna pari-mutuel has followed that framework and should be allowed to have a slot machine license. There’s no requirement for when the court must rule.