Why I will vote against casinos

The proposed casino for downtown Miami is no different — 5,000 rooms and over 50 restaurants, bars and night clubs. Our local hospitality, entertainment and retail industries will suffer similar consequences to those in Atlantic City where only 10 percent of the businesses nearest to casino locations are still open today, and the number of retail businesses declined by one-third within the first year of casinos opening.

Why I will vote against casinos

By Carlos Trujillo
Miami Herald

Ten years ago, few could have predicted that Midtown Miami would be home to some of finest restaurants in the United States, that the Design District would become an international cultural and design hub or that downtown Miami and the Biscayne Corridor would see the rise of new, inspired and immediately iconic architectural gems.

Gifted chefs and restaurateurs such as Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein, art gallery owners such as the Rubell family and Martin Margulies, developers such as Craig Robins and the Related Company, with a pioneer’s spirit took risks, with no certainty of success, to force a needed evolution and renaissance in our still burgeoning world-class city.

Yet today, casino proponents have arrived in South Florida with absolutes and guarantees of 100,000 jobs that will be created, that existing businesses will thrive and that casino expansion will generate additional revenue. These are the same casinos that have time and again peddled false promises of economic prosperity and the same casinos that our community has rejected in the past.

Mega casinos thrive as they cannibalize existing local businesses. Casinos are purposefully designed to be self-contained and include dining, entertainment and gambling under one roof so that patrons do not leave the casino premises.

The proposed casino for downtown Miami is no different — 5,000 rooms and over 50 restaurants, bars and night clubs. Our local hospitality, entertainment and retail industries will suffer similar consequences to those in Atlantic City where only 10 percent of the businesses nearest to casino locations are still open today, and the number of retail businesses declined by one-third within the first year of casinos opening.

In Iowa, taxable retail sales in cities without casinos grew more than five times faster than sales in cities with casinos.

An independent gaming commission in New Hampshire found that bringing one casino would eliminate seven local existing jobs for every 10 casino jobs created.

Do we truly believe that competing local businesses surrounding a mega casino will survive? How will that affect the natural process of economic and cultural improvement already occurring in these areas?

Local venues would likely see reductions in revenue because neither local nor tourist dollars would be spent in Midtown, Design District, Miami Beach or Brickell.

For full story, click here.