No Casinos responds to criticism it's 'misinformed' about casino gambling - Florida Politics

No Casinos responds to criticism it’s ‘misinformed’ about casino gambling

The state’s anti-gambling expansion group is pushing back against comments that it’s “misinformed” about casino gambling not being a “meaningful attraction for Florida tourism.”

Steven Norton, a longtime gambling executive and consultant, linked to Nick Sortal‘s Friday column for the Miami Herald in Norton’s Monday email roundup of the gambling scene in the South.

“As I survey the scene nationwide, I think it’s fair to ask the question: Do we have enough casinos already? And, a related question: Do we have enough gambling already?” Sortal wrote.

Sortal later quotes No Casinos president John Sowinski: ““Most people live near a casino. So casinos are no longer a draw to attract tourists.”

In his own commentary, Norton points to Las Vegas: “It’s not just the gaming, but the entire experience… and when people vacation, they have more time to enjoy their favorite pastimes, than when at home. Plus you will find many potential visitors who will not vacation at a resort unless casino gaming is available.

“I understand Disney’s opposition to gaming, not wanting visitors to spend their money away from Disney World or Epcot, but their visitors also have gaming available, being close to America’s top grossing casino resort, the Seminole Hard Rock, down I-4, in Tampa,” Norton adds.

“The Orlando family resorts have to realize that many of their mid-week customers in the fall, winter and spring are in Orlando attending conventions and trade shows, and do not have their children in tow, so casino gaming is an important added attraction.”

Sowinski wasn’t available Monday, but Paul Seago, No Casinos’ executive director, pointed to a report commissioned by the Legislature in 2013—the same one Sowinski mentions in the Herald column—concluding that “even if destination casinos were built, 95 percent of the revenue would be derived from locals.”

Seago also points to a University of Nevada, Las Vegas study that he says “reviews how the attempt to re-brand Las Vegas as ‘family-friendly’ did not end well.”

“Even more than twenty years after the fact, the notion of ‘family Vegas’ stirs up a host of reactions,” the study says. “Some challenge the idea that such an era ever existed.”

The study goes on to quote a 2012 “Vegas Seven” article: “We proudly inform out-of-towners that we’ve been theme-park free for a decade, and that we’re back to the wholesome pursuits—booze, breasts, and blackjack—that we built our name on.”

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

2 Comments

  1. I was delighted to see that someone was actually reading my comments. The UNLV study did determine that the Vegas aim at family business was a partial failure; but they did not mention the convention/trade show industry, that has totally changed the casino resort industry; by dramatically improving the profitably of the gaming resort business; by replacing the casino as the source of the majority of the LV Strip revenues and profits. In the year ending 6/30/16, the casino win at the 24 largest LV Strip resorts (with 76 thousand rooms), was less than 35% and contributed only 27% of the overall departmental profits. Vegas is changing, and Orlando’s prominence as a major convention destination, may need to take a closer look at the Strip’s revenues, and the contribution of the rooms and other department’s to the overall profitability.

  2. In addition to Tampa Hard Rock, the Orlando convention and tourism market is also a big draw for the casino vessel operating out of Cape Canaveral.

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