(Lakeland, Florida) – Two months ago the New York Times broke a story about a shameful business practice involving the casino giant Las Vegas Sands – busing low income people, most of them seniors, over 100 miles to their casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to gamble. Photographer Yeong-Ung Yang documented this “endless commute” through photography and an accompanying video on his website. Yang’s work proves that the casino business model is not brining in tourists, but preys on residents and targets the poor and elderly.
That’s why it was particularly chilling when it was learned that the handful of elderly people from Tampa who spoke in support of destination resort casinos for South Florida at a Senate Gaming Committee Meeting in Lakeland (and whose scripts covering the standard pro-casino talking points were neatly word processed on matching sheets of paper) had arrived and departed on a 60-foot luxury coach arranged by Las Vegas Sands Lobbyist Ana Cruz. Cruz, has two legislative clients, Las Vegas Sands and Ambassador Limousine, the company that provided the bus.
Cruz clearly wanted her involvement with the speakers to not be discovered, since she went to great length in an attempt to not be photographed boarding the bus herself.
“Las Vegas Sands is running a campaign of deception to make it appear to legislators that the public wants Florida to legalize the biggest casinos in the world,” said No Casinos President John Sowinski. “If this is something voters want, then why are Sands lobbyists secretly bussing seniors to public hearings?”
Contact: Michael Murphy
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