Lawmakers Express Ambivalence Over Resort Project

Resort Would Need Legislation To Allow Casino

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MIAMI - Some influential South Florida lawmakers, whose support is essential if a destination casino gets built in Miami, expressed ambivalence Thursday about Resorts World Miami.

That's the $3 billion mixed-use development that the Genting Group wants to build on property it bought from the Miami Herald.


"I'm incredibly skeptical," said state Sen. Anitere Flores, a Republican from Southwest Miami-Dade. "They've promised a lot, and I need to take a closer look at their figures and see whether they add up, and I'm sure my colleagues feel the same way."

State Rep. Richard Steinberg, a Democrat whose Miami Beach district includes many hotels and other tourist destinations, wondered if Genting's promise of 30,000 permanent jobs would mean existing jobs would be displaced to the Resorts World Miami venture.

But Steinberg also said that it's possible the Legislature could pass legislation on its own to create four or five destination casinos in the state without putting a constitutional amendment before voters on a general election ballot. Several such gambling referenda have been defeated over the last 25 years.

Genting already runs upscale casinos in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, as well as gambling operations in the United Kingdom. It will soon open a casino at Aqueduct Race Track in New York.

Resorts World Miami would be built on the Miami Herald property Genting bought last May for $236 million.

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