Hamilton County votes for slot machines

Apr 10, 2012

The following article was published in The Florida Current on April 10, 2012:

Hamilton County votes for slot machines

By Gray Rohrer

Voters in the eastern Panhandle county of Hamilton on the Georgia border opted for slot machines in a referendum held Tuesday.

By a vote of 1,167 (61 percent) to 744 (39 percent), slot machines were approved in the county.

But the machines are not likely to be installed any time soon. Although they were slated for the Hamilton Jai Alai and Poker facility in Jasper, a legal opinion from Attorney General Pam Bondi means the license will not likely be given by state regulators.

Bondi issued an opinion in January stating that because the referendums for slots were not sanctioned by the Legislature, the results would not bind the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering, which is responsible for approving license applications. After the opinion was issued, Ken Lawson, Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which houses the division, said he would abide by the opinion and not issue slot machines outside of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where slots already exist.

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