While the Regulated Industries Committee approved the bill in a 7-3 vote, getting it through the House and Senate may prove to be rather difficult. Supporters of the bill say it will create new jobs and attract tourism, but opponents say it will tarnish the state’s “family friendly” image.

If passed, the bill would allow for three resort-style casinos, offering restaurants, shopping and convention facilities as well as gambling. Casino developers will have to agree to spend $2 billion building the facilities in order to get approval.

It’s very likely that the gambling bill likely will be one of the most heavily lobbied issues of the 2012 session.

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