Editorial: Florida shouldn’t risk its family-friendly brand

Casinos a bad bet for state’s family-friendly reputation

By Bill Lupfer
President/CEO, Florida Attractions Association
March 25, 2014
Sun Sentinel

Florida is envied around the world. Don’t just take my word for it. Recent headlines have quantified our state’s stellar reputation.

In 2013, Florida’s population surged to 19.5 million, set to overtake New York as the nation’s third most-populous state. And last year a record 94.7 million tourists visited Florida, a jump of 3.5 percent from 2012. They came here to experience what some natives take for granted.

No one takes for granted that 1.1 million Floridians worked in direct travel-related jobs in 2012. Our tourism industry understands we set the standard for the world in high-quality attractions that our family-friendly Florida brand means something to visitors, a priceless asset which can’t be quantified.

Florida has a reputation. So do Las Vegas and Nevada. Other states might be willing or eager for casinos. Florida is not, and does not have to be. We know that even one new casino in South Florida would not be compatible with our brand. So, as lobbyists for “destination casinos” knock on doors in Tallahassee, ask them about Las Vegas.

Last year, visitors to Las Vegas were down to 39.6 million. In 2013, Nevada led the nation in unemployment for eight out of 12 months. Jobs in Las Vegas casinos were down last year, and casino employment in the rest of Nevada was down 43 percent from 2000. Even business at the state’s bordellos is down.

Why would any state envy Las Vegas or Nevada?

Continue to the full editorial here.


Contact:  Michael Joe Murphy
Phone:  407-608-5930
Email:  murph@nocasinos.org