Pensacola News Journal Editorial Board
October 11, 2103
Last Monday, New Jersey-based Spectrum Gaming Group released some initial conclusions of a $400,000 study on the potential effects of expanded gambling in the state of Florida.
It’s conclusion? Don’t bet on any economic jackpot from more casinos.
Not that this is really anything new. In 2011, Spectrum authored a report on behalf of Genting World Resorts during the company’s lobbying push for new gambling regulations that would permit them to build massive resort casinos in South Florida. Florida’s business and tourism powerhouses chose sides on the issue and their armies of lobbyists were dispatched to Tallahassee to fight it out. The side with Disney’s lobbyists won – so no resort casinos. In Florida, you don’t mess with the Mouse.
Apparently that wasn’t the end of it. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Spectrum even has a stop in Pensacola planned for part of the study. It’s hard to imagine that all-powerful Disney would ease its opposition, but it appears that interested parties still think they may have a shot in Tallahassee.
Now, here in Florida, where we offer an officially state-sanctioned sucker bet called the Florida Lottery, arguing for the immorality of expanded gambling would be hypocritical. After all, casinos generally offer games with far better odds than scratch-offs, Lotto or certainly, the hell-frozen-over-chances in Powerball.
So it’s not the morality that we’ll take issue with – it’s the math.
The killer stat in the Spectrum report is the finding that 93 percent of Florida’s current $2.4 billion gambling revenues come from our fellow Floridians – not some prodigal outsiders who set afoot on Florida shores with mouths watering for casino buffet crab legs and wallets overflowing with expendable income. The majority of whatever money the state sucks off the top is Floridians’ money to begin with….
Continue to the full editorial here.
Contact: Michael Murphy