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Letter to the Editor: Will Florida Roll the Dice on Casino Industry?


Will Florida try to lure more gamblers to its state - and possibly away from Las Vegas - with giant casino resorts? It's possible. On Friday, two Florida senators filed legislation that would expand gaming in the state. The proposed legislation would permit five, mammoth Vegas-style casino hotels in the tourist-dependent state, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The hotels would haveat least 1,000 rooms each, as long as local voters approve.

Today, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, for example, has 500 rooms.The lawmakers say gambling will help Florida's economy by luring 5 million new visitors from out-of-state each year, and by keeping the 3.5 million annual visits that Floridians now make to out-of-state casinos in their home state, the article says.

Under the proposed legislation, the casino-resort complexes would have to contain at least 500,000 square feet of meeting space. That amount of meeting space would let the properties attract conventions and meetings - a segment of the travel industry that Disney World also chases.

The lawmakers who introduced the legislation run the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, which oversees gambling: Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, the committee's chairman, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, the committee's vice chair.

"Right now we're not a major player in the trade show industry," Jones told the Sun-Sentinel. "And if the Legislature thinks this bill is worthy, they'll help move it along."

But the casino plan is meeting opposition from people who say it's not right to rely on gambling, as well as from business interests that could lose money if the casinos open.

Dick Batchelor, a Democrat from Orlando who served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years, told the paper: "We all know it's about money, but rather than do the right thing and set better priorities, they're going to the vice industry," he said. "The bottom line is, 'Is it good for Florida?,' and I would suggest it's not at all good."

The plan is also meeting opposition from what would be the casinos' rivals. The Sun-Sentinel says that the state's pari-mutuels and Florida's Seminole Tribe plan to fight the casino legislation. Florida's existing Indian casinos in 2009 raked in $2 billion, the St. Petersburg Times reported last week. The article says: The Seminole Tribe owns seven of Florida's eight Indian casinos, including Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood. The Miccosukee Tribe has a Miami casino but offers only bingo-based slots and poker.

Instead of a Vegas Strip style arrangement, the lawmakers want Florida's hotel casinos to be spaced throughout the state.One, for instance, would be allotted for South Florida - specifically, in the combined area of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The casinos would require approval by local referendum, the article says. Readers: Do you think Florida should house more casino hotels?

Please take a few minutes and look at a study made by Arthur Anderson on the "Positive" financial impact Casino Gambling has made on other Cities & State!!  http://www.americangaming.org/tags/economic-impact

You can help by sending these Pro Casino Senators an e-mail letting them know that you support them and their efforts to get this very important job creating issue passed!!

Senator Mike Bennett  bennett.mike.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Dennis Jones  jones.dennis.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Maria Sachs    sachs.maria.web@flsenate.gov

Travis Cundiff

Small Business Owner 40+ Years! 

Manatee County


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