Fort Lauderdale Commission Signs Off on Laundry List of Complaints About Casino Plans

Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted unanimously to complain send off a resolution saying the city's not exactly a fan of the "destination resort casino" bill in the state Legislature -- which is sponsored in the Senate by Fort Lauderdale Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff.

Aside from that little rift in interests, the complaints stressed in the resolution are, uh, wide-reaching.

The resolution claims gambling causes "the misery of individuals" -- including suicide -- and includes things that some people might regard as assumptions, like saying gambling "may promote corruption of the governmental process."

Nothing like some light scare-tactics to get your point across.

The bill is steadily moving through the legislature, but if this resolution from the city commission is to be trusted, Florida's screwed.

Here's the text:

WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature is currently considering various measures that would substantially expand gambling in the State; and

WHEREAS, the legislation being considered would allow for casino operations that rival in size and scope the gambling operations existing in Las Vegas and Atlantic City; and

WHEREAS, notwithstanding the assurances of gambling promoters, historically, large scale casino operations cannibalize non-gambling businesses and have caused, for instance, the shuttering of forty percent of all restaurants and one-third of all retail businesses in Atlantic City; and

WHEREAS, our community will bear the severe and painful economic and social costs that always accompany expansive gambling, including the misery of individuals and families touched by problem gambling as they are at higher risk of divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime, and suicide; and

WHEREAS, expanded gambling may promote corruption of the governmental process as immensely wealthy gambling companies from all over the world seek to receive benefits from state governmental entities that regulate their existence and profits; and

WHEREAS, if gambling interests are allowed to obtain major casino expansion, full scale casino and gambling operations may become commonplace throughout our community and our State; and

WHEREAS, inward facing mega-developments may privatize public streets, destroy the pedestrian experience of downtown neighborhoods, exacerbate traffic, and denigrate the quality of life in our community; and

WHEREAS, based upon the foregoing concerns, the Mayor and City Commissioners of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hereby urge the Florida Legislature to reject any and all expansions of gambling in the State of Florida, including any legislation which would legalize so called "destination resort casinos."


SECTION 1.    That the Florida Legislature is hereby urged to reject any and all expansions of gambling, including legislation to legalize so called "destination resort casinos" in Florida.

SECTION 2.    That certified copies of this Resolution shall be transmitted to Broward County, all municipalities in Broward County, the State of Florida and all members of the Florida Legislature representing the City of Fort Lauderdale.

SECTION 3.    That this Resolution shall be in full force and effect upon final passage.

ADOPTED this the ___ day of ___, 2012.

Let's start off with this attention-getter:

"[O]ur community will bear the severe and painful economic and social costs that always accompany expansive gambling, including the misery of individuals and families touched by problem gambling as they are at higher risk of divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime, and suicide," the resolution says.

By "always accompany expansive gambling," it's easy to think Las Vegas -- that's where people are offing themselves. But as the Freakonomics crew checked out last year, gambling might not be the reason it's the suicide mecca.

The resolution also uses the word "will," assuming Fort Lauderdale is going to go through a suicidal child-abusing epidemic if a casino gets too close. The revised resolution replaced the word "will" with "may" on several occasions -- but not that time.

Then there's the thought by the commission that gambling enterprises could actually take over the state, as the resolution states that "expanded gambling may promote corruption of the governmental process" and goes through the takeover of aspects of governments by being a wealthy corporation. That's another case where the wording was changed to "may."

The commission also took out one part of the resolution that was a little less-than-objective:
"[T]he false promises of increased revenue and jobs, like the broken promises that accompanied the lottery and other gambling expansions, are intended to convince Floridians to make a fool's gamble with their future."

On the thought of job-creation being a "false promise," that one's already been called "bullshit" by the Genting CEO, but we've seen both sides of this about a dozen times already around the state.

It looks like the Fort Lauderdale Commission may have a case of the NIMBYs -- but maybe it should. At least we know which side it's on.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley