Florida Refuses To Allow Slots In Jacksonville Poker Room

Bestbet JacksonvilleThe Casino Regulators in the state of Florida has denied permission to gaming giant Bestbet’s request for the installation of 2000 casino slot machines at Jacksonville facility on legal grounds.

The local media has reported that the casino company has submitted an application for a license with Florida State to operate slots at its poker room situated in a converted warehouse in Arlington.

In a November referendum, the people of Duval County have voted in favour of adding gaming machines on which Bestbet has invested a whopping sum of $2 million.

The poker room in Jacksonville is the only known gaming facility in the radius of 50 miles. However, Bestbet’s President Jamie Shelton has received a letter from Florida State regarding the rejection of the application with proper reasons for the refusal for the installation of slot machines.

The first and major reason is that according to state laws, slots cannot run in countries where a referendum is held until and unless State Constitution authorises the referendum. Secondly, a referendum is allowed by Florida Constitution to be held in Miami-Dade and Boward Counties. And the third and last reason is that as per the existing laws, slot machines are only permitted in those properties that are connected to live game facility.

Bestbet Jacksonville

Bestbet Jacksonville is in agreement and operating with a sister company situated in Orange Park without any live racing. The company has 21 days before it can challenge the decision of the state by filing an appeal or asking for an administrative hearing.

Brian Hughes who is a spokesperson for Bestbet has said that the company is not looking forward to any action. Another casino from Gadsden County namely Gretna Racing has already filed a legal suit against Florida State for similar reasons. The case is pending for hearing in the Florida Supreme Court.

Hughes has made the following statement in media:

There is no plan to sue at this time because it appears an existing court case and legislative action may offer (the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations) new guidance on the issue. Bestbet is hopeful the Legislature and the courts will recognise that a decisive majority in Duval County voted in support of adding slot machine games.

The legislative houses in Florida are thinking about the two competing gaming bills. According to a proposal introduced in the House, the state will not issue any new slot licenses. The legislation before the State is of the opinion that casino slots should be authorised in all the counties where voters have indicated approval in referenda.

Under the plan of Senate, counties that would become eligible for opening casino facilities are St Lucie, Washington, Lee, Palm Beach, Brevard, Hamilton, Duval and Gadsden. There is going to be heated debate on the opposing views on expansion of gambling and it remains to be monitored which side will achieve legislative support.

Jay Stevens

Jay Stevens

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