Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Business

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]

Comments
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa developers outlined some broad goals for their planned $40 million renovation of the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina in a video posted to social media on Monday.In short, they want a hotel that feels inclusive, not ...
Published: 01/22/18
Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Associated PressDALLAS — Some in the U.S. solar-power industry are hoping a decision this week by President Donald Trump doesn’t bring on an eclipse. Companies that install solar-power systems for homeowners and utilities are bracing for Trump’s call...
Published: 01/22/18
Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

TAMPA — Tampa Bay was the No. 5 moving destination in 2017. Penske Truck Rental’s annual list ranks metro areas based on the number of one-way moving truck rentals to them.The Tampa Bay region, which includes Sarasota, held its position from 2016. It...
Published: 01/22/18
Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems (w/video)

Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems (w/video)

Charles Lee had been dealing with an excruciating toothache for days. The pain made it hard to eat or sleep or focus on work. But Lee, 54, didn’t have dental insurance. His job as a delivery truck driver offered only a supplemental policy that was to...
Published: 01/22/18
Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, the middle seat was already occupied by a man with a sizable dog on his lap. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his f...
Published: 01/22/18
Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

In recent months, Silicon Valley executives have been speaking out about the purposely addictive designs of smartphones and social media, which make them hard to put down for anyone, but particularly teenagers. Now, a new report puts numbers to the w...
Published: 01/22/18
Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

ST. PETE BEACH — A year ago, the longtime owners of the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center acknowledged they couldn’t afford the improvements it needed. They sold the 382-room hotel to a Texas company.Now the new owner has launched a $15 million...
Published: 01/22/18
This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

MoviePass is a film nerd’s dream. The subscription service allows users to see one movie a day at a theater for a single monthly cost. The service isn’t new, but it’s become popular among a lot more than movie buffs in the past few months.During its ...
Published: 01/22/18
Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Gas is off to an expensive start this year — the most expensive start since 2014. Florida pump prices jumped 10 cents in the past week to hit $2.54 per gallon Monday, 18 cents more than last month, according to AAA The Auto Club Group. Tampa Bay gas ...
Published: 01/22/18