According to Spectrum Gaming, nearly 95% of casino patrons would be Floridians, with just 5% new visitors to the state – making casinos an economic parasite.
“But if legislators allow expanded gambling, Floridians would continue to make up 93 percent of the casino industry’s revenues. An estimated 5 percent of the revenues come from out-of-state visitors, with nearly 3 percent from Florida’s snowbird population.” – Michael Pollock, Spectrum Managing Director
Gambling over-saturation has made it less of an attraction to visitors, and has required taxpayer bailouts of America’s newest “integrated destination resort,” the Revel in Atlantic City. It is clear that the industry is attracted to Florida to prey on our large population of full-time and seasonal residents. Therefore, legalizing casinos will cost more jobs than it creates, and when social costs and law enforcement costs are calculated in, it will syphon more revenue than it will produce.
No demonstrated public appetite for more gambling. Florida Senate Committee on Gaming held hearings on the gambling issue throughout the state. There was no preponderance of testimony for expansion.
Florida is low in gambling per-capita, which is why the industry wants in. Florida is the 23rd – not the 4th – largest gambling state. This reflects both the fact that Florida is not known for being a gambling destination and why the industry is so eager to expand here. Our report: http://www.nocasinos.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Florida-23rd-largest-gambling- state.pdf
Casino gambling and family-friendly tourism brands are incompatible. Las Vegas proved it. In the 1990s, the city tried to appeal to the family market. It was an abysmal failure and was quickly replaced by “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
No Casinos opposes:
1. The legalization of Las Vegas or Atlantic City-style casinos. We oppose legalization of mega-casinos. Should a bill be passed out of committee with that provision, it should also:
- Make it illegal to advertise casino gambling to Florida residents.
- Include a condition that no entity shall be granted a gambling license by the state if, within the past 20 years, that individual or company has been found in violation of any state or federal law, or has paid civil or criminal fines or settlement in order to avoid prosecution in any case under these laws.
- Prohibit free alcohol, food and hotel rooms at casinos.
- Disallow strip clubs or other forms of adult entertainment within one mile of casinos.
- Prohibit casinos within one mile of schools, churches, or residential neighborhoods.
- Limit slot machines to 10% of total gambling positions. If the casinos are about attracting high rollers, then slot machines should be unnecessary.
- Impose the same tax rate as New York — approximately 60%.
2. Gambling Commission. We oppose the creation of a new bureaucracy that would do little more than expand the influence of big casinos, accommodate an expanded gambling industry, and wrest control of issues out of the hands of elected officials and Florida voters. National experts warn that these commissions aren’t “independent” as promised, but become highly susceptible to industry influence. The appropriate response to any loopholes in gambling laws is to fix the laws. Legislators themselves can set things right, without costly red tape and the tangle of bureaucrats.
3. Decoupling. No Casinos opposes decoupling. We also point to the Spectrum report’s findings that greyhound racing and jai alai are dying sports in Florida. Total greyhound racing handle fell by 67% since 1990, and the total handle for jai alai fell by 91% over that same period. If the free market had its way, there would be no greyhound or jai alai facilities in Florida today. Instead, they were propped up with new forms of gambling and tracks and frontons are asking for even more gambling now. Allowing expanded forms of gambling to exist by virtue of a business having once run greyhound racing, jai alai or horse racing is wrong. Pari-mutuel permits should not be treated as a birthright to whatever forms of gambling become fashionable over time.
Our of concern for the humane treatment of greyhounds, we support robust reporting requirements on greyhound care and injuries. We also have no objection to legislation that would eliminate the 90% rule, while maintaining the 100-performance minimum. Our opposition to decoupling should not be construed as support for greyhound racing.
If decoupling is permitted, then the nature of pari-mutuel permits will have been dramatically altered, and therefore these permits should be subject to a public proposal and bid process, and be valid only after amending the provision of the state constitution that grandfathers pari-mutuel pools in existence prior to 1968.
4. Pari-mutuel mission creep. We oppose introduction of slots in any track not specifically provided for in the constitution. And we oppose pari-mutuels becoming a host for whatever forms of gambling become fashionable.
5. Online Gambling. We oppose online gambling. This would exponentially increase problem gambling and associated social costs.
6. Permit Portability. We oppose any effort to relocate pari-mutuel permits.
No Casinos supports:
1. A constitutional amendment that would require any expansion of gambling to be approved by constitutional initiative petition ratified by Florida voters. No expansion contemplated this session should be allowed to take effect unless voters approve such an amendment.
2. We support specific revisions to Florida law that would:
- Prohibit license holders or prospective license holders from making political contributions to candidates for Governor, the Cabinet, or the Legislature. See Senator Margolis’ “Public Confidence in Gaming Act.”
- More specifically define greyhound racing, horse racing and jai alai exhibitions to avoid Gretna-type abuses.
- Prohibit any new pari-mutuel permits from being issued.
- Clarify that slot machines must be limited to existing Miami-Dade and Broward tracks and frontons.
- Specifically define slot machines to be consistent with their traditional meaning in order to eliminate other electronic facsimiles of casino games that are otherwise not legal.
- Strengthen existing laws to eliminate abuses of sweepstakes and/or bingo laws by Internet cafes and similar gambling enterprises.
- Eliminate loopholes that have been or could be manipulated as a way to offer forms of wagering that are not specifically authorized.