Blunt-talking Genting head answers skeptics and addresses criticism on casino deal
It is a lazy, rainy day in Tallahassee and Colin Au, the president of Genting Americas, has arrived in town on a mission — to meet with every one of the state’s 160 legislators to explain why Miami needs a “destination resort” with one of the world’s biggest casinos.
As the top U.S. executive for one of the globe’s largest casino developers, Au is prepared to lobby “24-7 for 100 days,’’ he said — or as long as it takes for a legislative vote on a bill to bring resort casinos to Miami-Dade and Broward. “I’m stationed here,’’ he said Tuesday, in between meetings.
A bill, expected to be filed Monday by Miami Rep. Erik Fresen and Fort Lauderdale Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, asks legislators to do what decades of lawmakers have rejected: bring three Las Vegas-style casinos to Florida.
The proposal appeals heavily to the jobs-first strategy of Gov. Rick Scott and legislators, but skepticism is widespread. Doubters question what impact more gambling, more tourism and more congestion will have on families, communities and the state.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Herald/Times last week, Au responded to concerns, pointedly countered rumors that his company is anti-Semitic and associated with the Chinese mob, and offered a window into the company’s legislative strategy. More here.