EDITORIAL: Large scale gambling has no place in our Florida

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHouse Majority Leader Dana Young (R-Tampa) has had an active couple of days. After being solicited by the Florida Democratic Party for a donation, she formed a Legislative Brewing Liberty Caucus (regardless of your perspective on craft breweries the state has much more pressing issues) and now has filed a bill that would lead to an unprecedented expansion of gambling in this state.  Young’s legislation would expand gambling to levels in Florida which have never been seen before.

Florida has beautiful beaches, an ecosystem unlike any other in the nation, and is an international melting pot unlike any state that has been forced to adopt gambling. But the inability of Republican administrations to jump start Florida’s economy and make us the state we ought to be given our natural advantages and robust population has led some like Rep. Young to seek the most cowardly way to create jobs and stimulate the economy – by jeopardizing Florida’s quality of life on the alter of short-term economic growth.

Gambling is not a part of the productive economy. The only risk involved is for the patrons; the House, as they say, never loses but millions of people, including working class Floridians who could potentially develop gambling addictions do. Not only is it not a form of business or commerce in the traditional sense, it is essentially a mechanism for transferring wealth from poor, working-, and middle-class to the obscenely monied interests that own and control the gambling industry. As for the decent jobs touted by gambling boosters — a study of state-sanctioned gambling in Mississippi found that half of casino workers reported present or past problems with gambling addiction.

It’s fine in our opinion if Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada and New Jersey want large scale casinos all over the state. We have no problem with Floridians traveling to these states to gamble. But here in Florida, we live in a special enchanted land where can do better and must do better. This is a state unlike any other, with beautiful beaches, incredible scenery and exceptional gifts. Our Governor, who has lived in the state for barely a decade and has shown little appreciation for its wonders in the past, on Tuesday talked about Florida’s exceptionalism. Governor Scott probably doesn’t view exceptionalism in quite the way we do here, but we love this state and do feel we are an exceptional land that does not need to resort to the type of measures Mississippi or Louisiana do to stimulate our economy.

Friend of TFS, Ross Hancock stated the case against gambling in Florida succinctly when he ran for the State House:

Casinos provide perhaps the absolute least imaginative economic development option imaginable. Florida sent people to the Moon. We can do better than this and have for years done better than this.

It is difficult to find a single spot in the United States where Casino Gambling has helped a the quality of life in a community.
Gambling only works if no one else is doing it. That was the Vegas and Atlantic City model. Now casinos are very common within driving distance of most Americans.

Casino Gambling often leads to a huge financial and cultural distortion of the community’s fabric and politics.

Florida has cultivated a tourism industry based upon clean beautiful beaches, a tropical and sub-tropical climate, unique environmental features, family friendly entertainment parks and vibrant cosmopolitan metropolitan areas. Gambling threatens all of this.

We at TFS have decided to make our position against gambling public because it’s important that progressives and Democrats — particularly those in elective office — understand that there is serious opposition to casino-style gaming in the Democratic and progressive base. Not long ago, it was common sense in both parties. The fact that the Republican majority has even put it on the table is a sign of their arrogance. Some Democrats reportedly seem open to the idea amid industry campaign contributions and the feeling that it might pass with or without their support. We applaud the efforts of the likes of Rep. Jared Moskowitz and Sen. Eleanor Sobel to protect Greyhounds in this matter also –  the gambling and parimutuel industry has never cared about animal welfare or even the welfare of human beings.

It is imperative that Democrats who represent working class families reject any expansion of Casino Gambling in this state.


  1. What a piece of merde, mierda, crap. Florida doesn’t even begin to match the diversity of California and in particular my San Diego County with 11 Indian casinos to entertain 3 million people. One county, 11 casinos and 3 million people. Three East County Indian casinos alone employ 2000 people and spend $200 million on payroll, goods and services.

    Compare tht to your Blah, Blah, Blah. There is no comparison.


  2. Blue Dog Dem · ·

    Outstanding editorial


  3. The future · ·

    The expansion of gambling is largely down to transactional south Florida Democrats, the types you rail against always.

    Keep a particular leery eye on Senators Abruzzo, Clemens, Braynon and Rep Geller. These sofla Dems have basically sold out already.


  4. Tampa Bay Demo · ·

    The party itself isn’t honoring the Askew or Chiles legacy by not coming out against gambling. Too dependent on gambling money and pro gambling legislators from south Florida.


  5. Problem is the indian tribes are owed the ability to run casinos by us. I agree gambling isn’t ideal but we cannot crack down on the Seminoles or other tribes. It’s our obligation to them given history.


    1. We are not talking about cutting Indian gaming out, as much as some of us might like to see that disappear also. We are talking about preventing the further expansion of gambling.


  6. Fla Dem · ·

    Why don’t you stick to the issues that divide the parties? Abortion, equality, and economics. Gambling divides our party and this you should stay away. This editorial is a disservice.


    1. This issue is tough for some Democrats which is precisely why we have opted to make our views known publicly.


  7. get over it · ·

    I agree with you guys but it’ll never pass so why waste the energy? This is one issue the unites right and left. It’ll get nowhere.


    1. Transactional Dems and GOPers including Rep. Young obviously are willing to stick their necks out for this. I’ve noted through the years it is true conservatives and true liberals that oppose gambling while those in the middle with less defined principles are willing to “play ball” on this. This is not an absolute rule, but a general observation going back to the mid 1990’s.


  8. Blue Dog Dem · ·

    Gambling has no place in a productive economy. I love that line by the way!


  9. Gordon Gecko · ·

    The only Democrats that actually support gambling extension are people with dog tracks or Indian casinos in their district. I think in general most liberals oppose the expansion of gambling so I agree with this editorial but I’m not sure that your alarmist tone is really necessary.


  10. Few over the Many · ·

    Gambling hurts working class people BUT creates jobs. If we weren’t a right to work state I’d be all for Casinos. But because we aren’t, it may be just more low wage Disney type jobs which we don’t need.


  11. Gambling sucks the money out of every area it is in. Manufacturing and construction adds quality jobs to the economy and everyone benefits.


  12. Get real,gambling is everywhere! The lottery is the worst form of gambling ever which is run by the State. Scratch off tickets, cost $20.00 plus. Let South Florida have one casino in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County. Only stipulation is that those counties keep all the $$$$. Please do not save me from myself. As an adult, I prefer to make my own decisions. I might take you seriously if you took Tobacco off the market which we know KILLS PEOPLE!!!!


  13. Get real,gambling is everywhere! The lottery is the worst form of gambling ever which is run by the State. Scratch off tickets cost $20.00 plus. Has anyone ever bet on the Super Bowl,March Madness,etc.? Let South Florida have one Casino in Broward,Dade and Palm Beach County. Only stipulation is that those counties keep all the $$$$$. Please do not save me from myself. As an adult, I prefer to make my own decisions. And let’s add a sports book! I might take you seriously if you took Tobacco off the market which we know KILLS PEOPLE!!!!


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