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spenser1058

Casino Gambling For Florida? Orlando?

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$3 billion destination casino plan for Miami unveiled

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/fl-genting-miami-casino-20110914,0,1129110.story

I started this as a new topic for Orlando because, even though the article is about Miami, this is an important question the state is going to have to decide upon. For Orlando, as not only the largest tourist area but also with the largest convention facilities in the state (and second in the U.S.), the issue looms even larger than other metros here.

For decades, this issue kept coming up only to be shot down by the voters or the Republican Party (or both). Ironically, these days it tends to be the GOP in Tallahassee that is more supportive.

Orlando has always opposed gambling (Orange County has never even allowed parimutuel wagering such as dog racing, horse racing or Jai-Alai - the closest tracks and fronton were over the line in Seminole and were approved long ago). That's all the more ironic given that Orlando owned for many years the Ben White Raceway where training took place for harness racing.

In the more modern era, gambling was opposed by Disney and others as a threat to our family vacations business. The business community was also opposed because it has been difficult to attract businesses to areas such as Las Vegas that are known for extensive gambling.

As in so many things, the world has changed. Should Orlando change too, and encourage casinos here? Interestingly, Disney has been rather quiet on the subject. And Orange is a much different county demographically and politically (it is a "majority minority" county now and the bulk of the voters are now Democrats).

While I have never opposed casino gambling on moral grounds, I did respect the fact that it might affect the area's ability to attract new businesses and could impact our family vacations business.

Today, however, I am less sure about the families and states like Illiniois have made gambling accessible to major business centers.

Also, I am well aware that Orlando, while doing OK in the convention business, continues to have a facility that has yet to reach its maximum potential. Further, the idea of "family convention business" strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron. Las Vegas still leads in conventions because conventioneers are often attracted to the opportunity to do adult things away from the family, not to bring them along for a trip to see Harry Potter.

As a result, I think it's time to think about well-controlled gaming in a limited area around International Drive as perhaps the way to have our cake and eat it, too. I could certainly be wrong- there may well be good reasons that Vegas abandoned its approach in the 80's of marketing to families (just as Disney has abandoned its pursuit of strictly adult activities at Pleasure Island). Also, to this day, the business of Las Vegas is gaming, conventions and tourism - it has not caught on as a business center.

But, with things about to heat up in Miami and, by extension, Tallahassee, I think we have to decide what we believe is best for Orlando.

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Wasn't there talk at some point about a casino at the Gaylord Palms? I think another ideal location would be the I-Walk (or whatever they are calling it now) project on International Drive. No point in taking a back seat to Miami on this issue when we have conventions and tourists to lose as a result.

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Wasn't there talk at some point about a casino at the Gaylord Palms? I think another ideal location would be the I-Walk (or whatever they are calling it now) project on International Drive. No point in taking a back seat to Miami on this issue when we have conventions and tourists to lose as a result.

It's interesting that this seems to be off everyone's radar screen at the moment. There is very little talk emanating from the business community or the religious right so far - perhaps the consensus is it is going to take some time to actually occur.

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There was also the short lived proposal to build one where the Creative Village is now going. Disney also looked at adding these to the Pleasure Island complex back when it was first planned.

I would love to see a few destination casino complexes in our area. One or two of I-Drive, especially south of SeaWorld would be great. One within walking distance of the OCCC would be nice, maybe Shingle Creek could build one. A downtown one similar to the CityCentre complex in Vegas would be great for the downtown area. One in Daytona at the Speedway could make it into a 24/7-365 destination. One at the port in Cape Canaveral would be a great place for tourist to kill time before boarding their cruises.

As long as the area controls the number of them and requires that they be large destination style resorts that are more than just casinos but have shows, restaurants, hotels, convention space, shopping, etc. IMO Orlando has pretty much conquered to family destination vacation spot so now we need to focus on adding things for others to vacation here. Casinos can help that.

IMO conventions seem to love casinos, if Miami gets casinos and we don't Orlando will lose some of its convention business.

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Court ruling may clear way for 'destination' casinos

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/fl-slots-ruling-impact-on-destination-casinos-20111006,0,5128856.story

This is moving along even more quickly than we believed. With a $2 billion budget shortfall, the Legislature may be anxious to finally move ahead with casino gambling.

Edited by spenser1058

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Central Florida needs to step up and make sure that whatever legislation does pass gives Central Florida the same advantages as it gives other parts of the state. Allowing casinos in one part of the state and not others will put us at a strategic disadvantage in future tourist and convention business. Family friendly destination casinos could easily be accumulated into the local economies while also providing much needed jobs in Orange, Brevard, Volusia, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties.

By attaching casinos to or allowing them to be built near preexisting attractions we could reap the rewards with fewer of the negatives such as increases in traffic. I imagine that casinos attached to local attractions like the the Daytona Speedway, the port in Cape Canaveral, or even on the property at Universal would help central Florida to become an even bigger player in the international tourism and convention world.

I can't see why at least a few local politicians haven't already spoke up and made sure we are represented in this 'new' chapter of Florida tourism.

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I'm not particularly a fan of casinos, but agree that if Miami gets them we should, too. (I also like what someone said, about if they build a casino, they have to build the public transit to get people there -- maybe more relevant in Miami, but still...)

I'm not sure why casinos are automatically dubbed family-unfriendly. I don't think Norwegian or Carnival having casinos makes them less family-friendly. I've never been, but what do parents do on Disney cruise ships when the kids go to bed? It's weird that gambling around kids is deemed worse than drinking around them (or smoking around them, for that matter).

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Central Florida needs to step up and make sure that whatever legislation does pass gives Central Florida the same advantages as it gives other parts of the state. Allowing casinos in one part of the state and not others will put us at a strategic disadvantage in future tourist and convention business. Family friendly destination casinos could easily be accumulated into the local economies while also providing much needed jobs in Orange, Brevard, Volusia, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties. By attaching casinos to or allowing them to be built near preexisting attractions we could reap the rewards with fewer of the negatives such as increases in traffic. I imagine that casinos attached to local attractions like the the Daytona Speedway, the port in Cape Canaveral, or even on the property at Universal would help central Florida to become an even bigger player in the international tourism and convention world. I can't see why at least a few local politicians haven't already spoke up and made sure we are represented in this 'new' chapter of Florida tourism.

I completely agree with everyone. As far as Disney putting a block towards casinos in Orlando, I hope they can warm up to the idea of "Destination Casinos". Maybe some of our local hoteliers may expand their hotels to add casinos such as Rosen (which may be unlikely since he voted against the "triple crown of downtown") and maybe the Peabody. If we have these casino around International Dr. and the convention I believe we can take the number 1 spot for conventions in the nation, which will have a tremendous economic impact. We would surely see Orlando grow at an exponential rate.

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A casino hotel connected to the convention center would cement Orlando's status as the number one convention city. The vacant lot behind the Peabody Hotel is the perfect location for this. I do hope that city leaders recognize and seize the opportunity. Orlando should not take a backseat to Miami on this.

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About the article, the exact same thing can be applied to an urban mall....

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We need casinos in Orlando. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD! We need to shake things up economically and find ways to promote economic growth in Orlando and Central Florida.

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I-Drive is definitely the place for this... bundled with other destination amenities. I would hate to see it located in Clearmont or Apopka and exist to draw in retirees on busses like the Hard Rock in Tampa.

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Gambling Debate Entangles Disney In Florida

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/us/gambling-debate-entangles-disney-in-florida.html?hp

 

The New York Times takes a look at an unexpected quandary as the state once again prepares to address casino gambling. Not only does Disney already have skin in the game, Florida hasn't been purer than Caesar's wife on betting for many decades.

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I think that is a stretch to call them involved in gambling. I think they are wrong and I want to see real casinos open up here but its a pretty weak link used as the main argument there.

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I think that is a stretch to call them involved in gambling. I think they are wrong and I want to see real casinos open up here but its a pretty weak link used as the main argument there.

 

Oh, I agree on that point completely. What was more interesting to me was the call to just admit that it's all about competition (plus the worry of wage rates increasing due to labor shortages as well as possible unionization). If Disney had been so concerned about gambling, they would never have come here in the first place. Even in the 1960's, we had pari-mutuel wagering and the state was still infamous for illegal gambling on things like bolita.

 

It's a particularly pertinent discussion to have, because if Orange County ever wishes to eclipse Las Vegas in the conventions game, it needs to have more adult activities. It's why Harris Rosen (whose properties are increasingly centered around the convention business) and Disney (whose resorts only do meetings as a sideline) are on different sides of this battle. For south Florida, gaming is even more critical.

 

Interesting factoids: Distance from WDW to Miami: 240 miles

                               Distance from Disneyland to Las Vegas: 258 miles

                                Distance from WDW to Tampa (home of the Seminoles' Hard Rock Casino): 65 miles

 

Still think Disney's main concern is its "family-friendly" brand? They fought this even when the only casinos were designated for south Florida. Perhaps more to the point: as Las Vegas grew, so did attendance at Disneyland. Attendance at WDW is at an all-time high despite its proximity to the Seminoles' Hard Rock Casino.

Edited by spenser1058

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Vegas-backed poll finds support for destination casinos in Florida

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/blogs/political-pulse/os-vegasbacked-poll-finds-surprise-support-for-destination-casinos-in-florida-20131031,0,5030077.post

 

If this polling is valid (and since it was sponsored by the Sands, I'd like to see something a tad more objective), it suggests the Legislature may eventually bend on this. Since it was a Republican polling firm, if they're finding north Florida's evangelical voters are indeed leaning more toward some form of casinos, Disney is going to have a strong headwind to deal with sooner rather than later. 

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Oh, I agree on that point completely. What was more interesting to me was the call to just admit that it's all about competition (plus the worry of wage rates increasing due to labor shortages as well as possible unionization). If Disney had been so concerned about gambling, they would never have come here in the first place. Even in the 1960's, we had pari-mutuel wagering and the state was still infamous for illegal gambling on things like bolita.

 

It's a particularly pertinent discussion to have, because if Orange County ever wishes to eclipse Las Vegas in the conventions game, it needs to have more adult activities. It's why Harris Rosen (whose properties are increasingly centered around the convention business) and Disney (whose resorts only do meetings as a sideline) are on different sides of this battle. For south Florida, gaming is even more critical.

 

Interesting factoids: Distance from WDW to Miami: 240 miles

                               Distance from Disneyland to Las Vegas: 258 miles

                                Distance from WDW to Tampa (home of the Seminoles' Hard Rock Casino): 65 miles

 

Still think Disney's main concern is its "family-friendly" brand? They fought this even when the only casinos were designated for south Florida. Perhaps more to the point: as Las Vegas grew, so did attendance at Disneyland. Attendance at WDW is at an all-time high despite its proximity to the Seminoles' Hard Rock Casino.

I gotta disagree, I think it is a key concern of disney that orlando remains a family friendly brand and doesn't want the name to turn into something like Vegas. Why'd they fight South Florida's casinos? Simple, if Miami can have them why can't Orlando? How would it be fair for the Florida legislature to say that? Once they start being permitted in one spot, its gonna happen in other destinations throughout the state. And I think everyone realizes that the casinos are going to be successful once built, and when the influx of cash comes in from that, its gonna become hard to say no.

 

Disney's concern about gambling doesn't necessarily mean every decision they make is going to be based on it, it just means they are going to try not to support it. I'm sure when Disney chooses locations, there are many factors, and just because Florida had been allowing some small amount of gambling was not reason enough to not locate here, but not evidence that they don't care about gambling. Infact, when most places locate somewhere, unless the business is directly related, I can't imagine the casinos play too much of a role in that decision.

 

Do I agree with Disney's concern? No, I don't think Orlando/Disney is going to lose its family friendly, and fun place to visit brand because of it. Its unlikely we become Vegas known as a "dirty" place. At worst, it might reduce Orlando from a "family friendly, fun place" down to just a "fun place for people of all ages". While Disney may lose revenue per visitor due to having to split it, I think the number of visitors will increase by that much more and still make it a net positive for all those involved. To me, its crazy not to allow these destination casinos. Wasn't the last proposal to allow casinos with a minimum facility investment of a billion dollars? As long as we make sure that the tax rates on them are higher then everyone else (as there will be businesses that are displaced by them), its gonna be a positive.

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