Casino Watch focus reported that a bill has been introduced in the Florida legislature to expand gambling by allowing mega Vegas-style destination casinos. Key groups immediately came out against this possible gambling expansion including The Florida Chamber of Commerce, Disney and The Florida Hotel and Lodging Association to name a few. Now, The Miami Herald is reporting that another key group is coming out against gambling expansion:
The board of the association of tourist attractions and parks today announced it will oppose the “destination resorts” casino bill if it moves through the Legislature.
The Florida Attractions Association, which represents public and private tourist sites throughout the state (from the Monkey Jungle and the Miami Science Museum to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo), warned that the experience of other states is troubling.
“Less fortunate destinations around the U.S. have sought to increase their market share of tourism by adding casino gambling to their states,” the association said in a press release. “The results have been less than stellar. Promises of economic boom and employment gains are not sustained, and casino gambling has become passé with their proliferation and the passage of time.”
As the economic and tourist driven groups are making their presence known, so are a coalition of religious and other anti-gambling groups. The St. Augustine Record explains:
A coalition of religious and anti-gambling groups said Tuesday they are launching an aggressive lobbying campaign to convince the Legislature to reject a plan to allow massive luxury casinos in two South Florida counties.
These predominantly religious groups join a growing list of opponents to identical bills (HB 487, SB 710) that permit Las Vegas-style “destination resort” casinos and establish a new state agency to regulate gambling.
Groups such as the Florida Baptist Convention, the Florida Catholic Conference, Florida Casino Watch and Florida Family Action say they oppose any measure to expand gambling because it victimizes poor people, tempts compulsive gamblers, sullies the state’s family-friend image and could harm businesses that rely on tourists.
“We are working to make our message very clear to legislators that it is unconscionable to vote for a change that will negatively affect thousands of families in our state,” said Mark Andrews, chairman of Florida Casino Watch.
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