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History of gambling on Florida

FLORIDA   --  State lawmakers are about to have more discussions on expanded gambling.
Gambling has deep roots in Florida -- going all the way back to the 1890's.
   
Gambling hasn't always been legal in Florida but it has always been around.

For decades, Florida's politics and people have gone back and forth, preaching against the evils of gambling but eagerly coveting the revenues it can produce.

Legalized gambling is woven into the fabric of Florida as fundamental to the state's revenue base as tourism...

You can find a lotto machine in every convenience store and a poker room in every major county.

It can be easier to find a place to buy a lottery ticket than it is to find a hamburger.
In the 1930's, Florida legalized Pari-Mutuel betting in more counties as a way for the state to generate some revenue during the great depression.

That paved the way to more tourism which helped the local economy recover.
'The casino' was built on Pensacola Beach in 1931 and was a popular spot for several years.

Today, the Casino Beach parking lot under the beach ball bears its name.
But just as gambling endures in Florida so does the resistance to it.

Opposition to gambling comes from Christian conservatives -- Walt Disney World -- animal rights groups opposed to horse and dog racing -- and the gambling day-cruise industry.

They helped defeat a 1978 referendum and worked to kill other attempts to bring legalized casinos to Florida in 1986 and 1994.