Casino Watch has reported that The Florida Senate Gambling Committee is holding gambling workshops with the intent to gather the local community to share their thoughts on gambling expansion. A third workshop was held in Pensacola and as a CBS affiliate in Miami reports the anti-gambling/expansion message dominated the conversation:
Panhandle residents sounded off Thursday against the state expanding gambling.
Members of the Senate Gaming Committee gathered in Pensacola where the prevailing opinion was that the state shouldn’t make gaming options more convenient or approve massive casinos, even if they’re just in South Florida.
Emulating the positions of Disney World and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, a bigger concern for a number of Panhandle officials and business leaders is the perceived negative image that would be cast on the state from more gaming, regardless of where casinos would be allowed.
Shane Moody, president and CEO of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, said an expansion of gambling in Florida would harm the family brand his tourism-dependent coastal community has fostered.
In anticipation of the forth meeting to be held in Jacksonville, an open letter to the editor written by Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford was published by the Florida Times Union providing a much needed law enforcement perspective:
The Florida Senate Gaming Committee will make its way to Jacksonville this week to give citizens a chance to express their comments and concerns about expanding gambling in our state and allowing large-scale destination resort casinos to open in Florida.
As a law enforcement officer and Florida citizen who enjoys the family-friendly designation of our state, I believe that the costs of these casinos far outweigh any associated benefits.
Independent studies confirm that more gambling means more crime. The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling reports that 35 percent of callers to its toll-free, anonymous problem-gambling help line say they committed an illegal act to support their habit.
The complete letter can be read HERE, where he goes on to explain that “Casinos would increase crime, burdening the state prison system with billions of dollars of additional costs over a 10-year period.”
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