State Casino Bill: Bad Bet for Florida

A state Senate bill to allow three full-scale, $2 billion casino resorts in Miami-Dade and Broward counties would scar the face of Florida and forever change the family nature of its signature tourism industry.

State Casino Bill: Bad Bet for Florida

A state Senate bill to allow three full-scale, $2 billion casino resorts in Miami-Dade and Broward counties would scar the face of Florida and forever change the family nature of its signature tourism industry.

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, filed the bill, SB 710. It would establish a state Department of Gaming Control, which would set up a Gaming Commission and would allow the hiring of law-enforcement officers, among an array of provisions. The officers would report to the commission. The Gaming Control Department would eliminate the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering that operates out of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

This is a big, expensive and complicated proposal that would open many of avenues for influence and failure, and invite graft.

The governmental aim of the proposal is to increase business and employment, and — particularly — increase state revenue through taxation.

COST VS. BENEFIT

The problem is that so often the cost of supporting large development — especially through infrastructure and operational support, including law enforcement, that would stretch on indefinitely over the decades — often overwhelms an increase in tax revenue. As a result, such development frequently costs government more than it gains, no matter how many millions of dollars in tax revenue are projected. Indeed, in this case, economists have been unable to agree on how much the casinos would bring in.

Put simply, trying to operate the state off of gambling-tax proceeds is a bad idea.

Not only does gambling harm the state broadly, it is injurious to individuals and to society collectively.

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