Make us your home page
Instagram

Trigaux: Can 'Pushing Luck' film stem new push for casino gambling?

The short film Pushing Luck was created to denounce ongoing efforts to bring Las Vegas-style casino gambling to Florida.

It premiered Wednesday evening in Tampa's Hyde Park after first being shown last month in Tallahassee to select political leaders. Now Pushing Luck is part of a statewide campaign this week by the No Casinos antigambling group to rally against the latest lobbying efforts to expand casino gambling in Florida.

The most likely landing spot would be the Miami area, where pro-casino groups say local polls favor the idea.

The film takes a jaundiced view of betting meccas such as Atlantic City, suggesting the economic blight from gambling there could spread here.

Pushing Luck features a host of Floridians taking various swipes at the idea of "destination casino resorts."

Gray Swoope, Florida's commerce secretary and CEO of Enterprise Florida, questions the promise that more gambling would "create lots of jobs" and boost the economy.

Florida historian and retired University of South Florida professor Gary Mormino explains how organized gambling first expanded from Miami to Tampa, where gambling became a "source of tremendous corruption.''

Mormino talks about the state's mistaken belief that it can contain new developments such as gambling. "It is a fantasy," he says.

Others in the film speak about the costs of people ruined by gambling habits.

The dustup over expanded gambling comes as the state mulls an agreement, which expires in 2015, that lets the Seminole Tribe of Florida offer card games. That so-called Seminole Compact lets the tribe offer blackjack and other games at locations including its Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa.

That same deal gives the tribe exclusive rights to offer Las Vegas-style gambling outside Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Should the tribe lose that right because of an expanded gambling bill, the Seminoles can stop paying lucrative fees to the state.

All of this should make for a lively 2014 legislative session.

Already this week, the Florida Senate unveiled a gambling proposal that would authorize one destination casino resort each in Broward and Miami-Dade counties that could offer slots, blackjack, roulette and craps.

The proposal would require casino operators to pay annual $5 million license fees and spend at least $2 billion on each site over five years.

Also, it would let voters decide whether they want to control future gambling expansions.

"Today, Florida legislators are struggling with the same question that political leaders have encountered for decades: how far to go to expand gambling in the face of a mounting competition for the gambling dollar."

Times/Herald writer Mary Ellen Klas wrote that line in 2009 when Florida struggled over how much gambling the Seminole Tribe could offer. But it could just as easily have been written in the 1920s, '30s, '70s, '80s and '90s.

And doubly so today.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Trigaux: Can 'Pushing Luck' film stem new push for casino gambling? 02/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 7:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]