Expanding gambling is the wrong social policy and the wrong economic policy for Florida. Our state’s history with this industry proves it…
It’s Like the Lottery
First, It never lives up to its big promises. Remember the lottery? We all know that broken promise. Then there were the slots in Dade and Broward dog and horse tracks. Voters were promised $500 million a year in tax revenue. They currently generate a quarter of that figure. And the compact with the Seminoles – that was sold as a firewall against further expansion of gambling – yet here we are a year and a half later facing another massive gambling expansion attempt.
Florida needs knowledge based industries, not pit bosses
Second, Florida needs to be about serious economic development and economic diversification. We need attract high-tech, knowledge-based industries. Re-defining our state by building the biggest casinos in the world here – and that’s what this bill would do — will drive away the types of industries we should be focused on bringing here.
A Predatory Industry that Destroys Jobs and Buisnesses
While casinos claim to create new jobs, history says that they really just shift jobs by destroying longstanding local businesses because of their predatory practices; in fact, when casinos opened in Atlantic City, 40 percent of the local restaurants & one-third of the local retail stores went out of business.
Social Costs Borne by Taxpayers
If huge new casinos are legalized, taxpayers will end up footing the bill for the crime, treatment for compulsive gamblers, & social costs of destitute gamblers that more gambling will cause – because taxes paid by casinos simply won’t cover all these costs
Casinos Bring Crime
Fifth, casino gambling causes crime. Organized crime, violent crime, property crimes and white-collar crimes are known side effects of casino gambling. In fact, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling reports that 35% of problem gamblers admit to committing crime in order to support their gambling habits.
Greed and Corruption
Too often casino gambling and greed and corruption go hand in hand. In fact, the last time Florida considered legalized high-stakes Casinos, a casino company put the sitting Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives on their payroll. That Florida House Speaker went to federal prison for failing to declare and pay taxes on that and other income.
And according to the Wall Street Journal, the Las Vegas Sands Corp, a company the company the St. Petersburg Times calls “a key player in the effort to bring ‘destination’ resort casinos to Florida” is the subject of a federal bribery investigation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Las Vegas Sands Corp is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Justice Department to see if the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.