By: Ismael Rodriguez

The Miami Beach City Commission voted last week in favor of a new legislation that can, potentially, ban casinos throughout the city.

The measure counters the Florida legislature’s proposed expansion of gambling facilities across Miami-Dade County, which has stalled because of disagreements between the House and Senate leaders.

Genting, the Malaysia-based company that owns the former site of the Miami Herald on Biscayne Bay, and the owners of the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach are among the many awaiting approval in order to compete for the slots license.

Alex Heckler, an attorney representing the Fontainebleau, told the press that he urged city commissioners to first conduct an economic impact study now that the state gambling legislation has gathered much commotion. “We understand your concerns,” he told the press. “We request you do this with your eyes wide open.”

Others like Miami Beach activist Frank Del Vecchio told the press that the Soffer family, which owns the Fontainebleau, should stand by the proposed zoning ordinance banning casinos.

“We all know what gambling brings,” Vecchio told the press. “It is devastating. The Fontainebleau should step up to the plate as a longtime citizen of this community. Junk the gambling.”

City commissioners also believe the expansion of casinos across the bay can, ultimately, lead to a domino-effect of hotels wanting licenses just to compete with hotels harboring their own slot machines.

In Miami though, the proposed measure will go before the Miami Beach Planning Board on May 11 followed by a first reading vote by the city commission.