1. Opinion

Ruth: More gambling? Report is a sure thing

Published Apr. 22, 2013

Here's an offer the Florida Legislature can't refuse.

The Founding Moochers in Tallahassee have decided to pay $400,000 to a New Jersey company, Spectrum Gaming Group, for a term paper to determine the efficacy of expanded gambling in Florida.

Now what do you think the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey is going to conclude after it analyzes, studies, dissects and chin-rubs its way through flow charts, statistics, graphs and focus groups?

I'm willing to go out on a limb and suggest that the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey will conclude that expanded gambling in Florida would be the cat's pajamas wrapped in a warm puppy inside a royal flush.

So in the interest of saving the fine taxpayers some money and the Florida Legislature some time much better spent treating Medicaid recipients as socialist lepers, here's an offer to House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Get Those Poor People Off My Lawn! and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-At Least I'm Not Mike Haridopolos.

Since you gentlemen are willing to spend $400,000 to hear what you want to hear, how about this: Expanding gambling in Florida is simply a wonderful thing that will bring peace to mankind and pave our roadways in gold as Florida realizes its full utopian paradise potential.

Please send me a check for $200,000.

Does anyone honestly believe the Spectrum GAMING Group of New Jersey is going to pore over economic studies, financial reports and demographic figures, only to determine expanding gambling in Florida would result in a plague of frogs, despair and doom?

On its website, the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey notes its bounty of satisfied clients includes gambling giants Caesars Entertainment, Churchill Downs, Genting, Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas Sands, Trump Entertainment Resorts and Wynn Resorts. Virtually every Indian tribe that runs gambling operations has used the services of the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey.

You would have better odds beating a subway three-card monte hustler than Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey concluding the state should not expand gambling.

What the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey offers Weatherford and Gaetz is political cover. While both men and their colleagues can bemoan the expansion of gambling as a blight on the body politic, they will be able to turn to the homework assignment submitted by Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey, throw up their arms and say: "Alas, despite our deep moral reservations, we have no choice but to allow more gambling based on the irrefutable evidence gambling is indeed an economic elixir. Woe unto us and leave it all on the red."

The same Florida Legislature that dithered and moaned and agonized over the very idea of giving public school teachers a raise as if these educators were free-loading layabouts, blithely agreed to give $400,000 to a company with deep ties to the gambling industry to produce a treatise pondering whether to expand gambling in Florida.

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Whew! That was close. For a moment there it seemed the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey might have had a smidgen of a conflict of interest.

Meanwhile Weatherford roams the parapets of the Capitol ever vigilant to prevent poor adults without children from getting so much as an aspirin paid for by the Kremlin's Barack Obama-funded Medicaid money.

Michael Pollock, the managing director of the Spectrum Gaming Group of New Jersey, noted in a statement that the company "is honored" (but probably not all that surprised) "by this selection, as we realize the importance of this study to Florida policymakers in so many ways," (especially when it comes to campaign contributions) "from the future of the tourism industry," (read: big honking casinos) "to the quality of life for its citizens" (or what's left of it after we take all their money).

Any doubt the first report from Spectrum Gaming Group New Jersey in July will be a glowing affirmation of expanded gambling?



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