It's kind of not in my best interest to admit this -- after all, I'm paid to write stories -- but this whole gambling discussion is kind of being over-played and overwritten.
The first big reach came last week, after Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said during their pre-session media briefing that gambling was not high on their list, and any expansion should require a constitutional amendment. As Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, and others said, this really wasn't news: they've been saying that all along.
Then Monday Sen. Garrett Richter told the Senate Committee on Gaming members that he was in favor of destination casinos and would be proposing a bill that included one in Broward and one in Miami-Dade counties. Weatherford came out Tuesday apparently saying that he'd be OK with that, providing a.) Gov. Rick Scott worked out a compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida first and b.) Any subsequent gambling expansion would require a constitutional amendment.
Well, a.) is the equivalent of the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy to go to the Wicked Witch of the West and bring back her broom. If destination casinos are here, that means all table games are here... roulette, craps, etc. The Seminoles would have no reason to bargain.
So let's see how much support really is out there, and thanks to Richter's actions, at least we'll have the discussion.
Already it looks as though there's plenty of support for a gaming commission, and that's a good thing, if for no other reason that it would get the state's Pari-Mutuel Wagering Division out of being in a no-win situation of navigating through our maze of gambling rules.
Next up: My thoughts on the possibilities of destination casinos in Broward.