No casinos betting on voters again

With just one registered lobbyist, No Casinos is focusing on getting its message out through news releases and through a network of aligned groups. That network is shaping up as an impressive array of the state’s tourism and business communities, with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Attractions Association and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association on board.

Brent Batten: No casinos betting on voters again

  • Naples Daily News
  • Posted November 22, 2011 at 4 a.m.

When ballot initiatives threatened to expand gambling in Florida, the group No Casinos worked feverishly to convince voters that it was a bad idea.

Now that Florida legislators are poised to decide the issue, No Casinos is working feverishly to convince voters that it is a bad idea.

Rather than trying to do the “trench lobbying” needed to win majorities in the state house and senate, No Casinos is again focusing its efforts on residents, says No Casinos President John Sowinski.

“They’re going to have more lobbyists, more money,” Sowinski said of the pro-gambling forces backing passage of House Bill 487 and Senate Bill 710, which would allow for three mega-casinos in the state.

“When I go into something like this, I ask, ‘How do we lose?’ We lose if legislators feel they can go to Tallahassee and just vote on this without anybody noticing.”

Since 1994, Sowinski, a public relations professional from Orlando, has been a fixture in the perpetual struggle between those who want more gambling in Florida and those who don’t.

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