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Not Everyone in Florida Wants Casino Resorts to Happen in the State

21 January 2011 by admin

There were rumors flying around that Florida’s new governor Rick Scott was eyeing gambling expansion for his state simply because he met with Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the Las Vegas Sands. Then it hit the news that Florida lawmakers were beginning to turn their eyes to destination resort style casinos.

All of this is true, but it does not mean that Florida will see destination casinos anytime soon if at all. Republican Dennis Jones did present a bill—not officially mind you—that would allow Florida to allow major casino companies—such as the Sands—to apply to build destination casinos in the state. The bill that Jones is showing around is putting the highlights on convention potential, saying that Florida is losing ever so much business to other states because it does not offer the latest and greatest in convention space. And, oh, did he tell you that these huge complexes with a hotel, convention space and shopping would also just so happen to have casinos? It is a sly way to try to sneak more gambling into the state.

Oh, and yes, it is also true that Scott met with Adelson but keep in mind that Adelson has been wanting to build a Sands in Florida for a long time. It was not a meeting about a Sands being built for sure.

And if the Miami commissioners’ decision is any reflection of how other cities and the state in general feels, Florida may not be allowing destination casinos within their state. The commissioners of Miami voted in a meeting this past Wednesday to lobby state level lawmakers to stop thinking and talking about allowing destination casinos in the state, letting it be known that they do not want a casino built in South Beach or any other part of their city. Miami Commissioner Ed Tobin said, “If this happens, our entire city will change.”

And truth be told, he is right. Miami and South Beach are known as a glitzy fashionable beach destination that celebrities frequent. Building a destination casino there could alter the image of Miami being a beach city and give it a reputation to rival Las Vegas, not to mention a crime level to rival the Mecca of casino gambling.

Casino companies like Adelson’s Sands have been eyeing Florida as a prime piece of real estate for casinos for many years. What they see are the tourists that are already flying into Miami and Orlando for vacations either to one of Florida’s famous beaches, the Keys or to theme parks. It is the numbers that casino companies see. What Floridians, like the Miami commissioners, are worried about is tainting their reputation a family vacation destination. And that is what Florida is—a place where families will take their kids after a year of saving to play in the surf or meet Mickey Mouse; they do not want to deter a tourism audience that has been coming to the state for the last three or four decades. Besides the Seminoles already have their seven casinos, not to mention all the non-Tribal pari-mutuels that would fight against destination casinos.

But it will come down to what state lawmakers decide. Even with the Seminole compact and the billion dollars being brought in as a result of the compact, there is still a large hole in Florida’s budget. And lawmakers are looking for ways to scrape up revenue to fill in that hole. Hence the reason the destination casinos seem so appealing. It is why Jamaica is looking to build casinos on their island after all. Besides, the bill says in short, there would only be allowed three—four at most—destination casinos. All we here at Online Casino Suite can say is to sit back, watch the action and let the lobbying begin. Will Mickey Mouse become proficient in poker? Time will tell.

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