Casino-style gambling could be on its way to the state of Florida. Some state lawmakers are still pushing for more casino resorts. However, reports are unclear whether or not Governor Rick Scott is on board.
The Orlando Sentinel reported the most recent bill would allow the establishment of four or five casino resorts in the state.
Panama City Beach resident Michael Meek, simply gambles for fun.
“We generally go to Biloxi,” Meek said. “If we have an extra long weekend, we go to Vegas.”
He owns a small restaurant in Panama City Beach too, and thinks Vegas-style casinos would be a good idea for the area.
“It would be another destination to this area. It makes it so people can come down and hang out and do more than just hang around on the beach,” Meek said.
This is not the first time Panama City Beach has been in play. City planning directors confirmed that talk about building large casinos started during the development boom back in the mid 2000’s
“Some of the developers at the time were thinking out loud that with the high raises in place with the condominiums, it wouldn’t be a large leap of faith if the opportunity ever came up,” Panama City Beach planning director Mel Leonard said.
The local condos don’t intend to convert lobbies into poker floors. However, Bay County is looking like a top destination for that most recent bill.
“I even saw where if there were going to keep people from going to Mississippi, then there needs to be a place in northwest Florida. Of course everyone starts thinking between Tallahassee and Pensacola, where could such a thing happen? Then, everyone says Panama City Beach is the most fun place around, and seems to be more built for it,” Leonard said.
Bay county commissioners won’t have a major role in the decision making process for the most recent bill if it goes through the state senate. So, some commissioners have mixed opinions.
“I’m sure the revenue would help with the infrastructure around the state of Florida. I’m just not sure how it would help individual communities around the state of Florida. But I believe they’re coming,” Commissioner Mike Thomas said.
Last Tuesday, the senate heard a report on the financial success that 13 other states have had after allowing Vegas-style casinos. The state of Pennsylvania alone brought in 1 billion dollars in revenue.