Gambling Already Everywhere In Florida So Welcome New Casinos


Critics charge that the new casino bill will bring too much gambling to Florida.


We’ve already got it, folks.  There is gambling from Pensacola to Miami. I was astounded by the number of gambling facilities I found that were already authorized by the state:

  • 24 Cardrooms
  • 5    Slot Machine Facilities
  • 16 Greyhound Tracks
  •  6  Jai-Ali Frontons
  •  3 Thoroughbred Tracks
  •  1 Harness Track
  •  2 Quarter Horse Tracks
There are other facilities, including the Seminole Hard Rocks which is not governed by the state. Don’t forget the Florida Lottery, which is expected to provide $1.186 billion for education in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Gambling currently employs thousands.  The handful of slot parlors in South Florida are expected to pump $154 million into state coffers in 2011-12 — not the $500 million annual take promised when the referendum was passed, but not peanuts, either. Para-mutuals provide nearly $30 million more.

Take a look at the attached map.  Do you really believe a handful of destination casinos being debated in Tallahassee now are going to ruin Florida?

No, new casinos will be a job generator that will employ thousands.

They will provide competition for the Seminole, who currently give very little of their estimated $2 billion in annual revenue to the state.  These new casinos will pump tens of millions into the state general fund.

If investors are willing to spend more than $2 billion — the current requirement to gain a license in the proposed bill — let them.  All that money will be spent right here.


(Disclosure: My son Aaron Nevins is senior legislative aide to state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, who is a sponsor of the destination casino bill.)

28 Responses to “Gambling Already Everywhere In Florida So Welcome New Casinos”

  1. Where's the money? says:

    I’ve always been a supporter of gambling in Florida, but the history of such efforts are chock full of lies and distortions.

    The Florida Lottery was sold to the voters as additional money for education, not a replacement. The legislature pulled the plug after only a year or two and yanked the budgeted money in favor of Lottery money.

    That $500 million “promise” from slot machines was for education and not for the state’s coffers. Another lie. Somewhere on the internet lurks the publicity photo of Dan Adkins handing the symbolic $500 million check to FSBA’s Wayne Blanton.

    Yes, bring us the casinos, but please don’t pee on the public’s back and tell us it’s raining.

  2. Wayne Arnold says:

    Mr Nevins, You are absolutely correct. And, I suspect that the folks so against these proposed 2 billion invested mega-casinos are the existing gambling interest who don’t want the competition. It reminds me of corporate mall owners in the late 70’s and 80’s who didn’t want new malls built so close to their malls. I guess it is a logical threat to the gaming organizations because they know people like to try new things. As, in every business you have to stay competitive.

  3. Richard J Kaplan says:

    You left out the cruise ships (especially the ones to no where). Add to that the quick trips to the Bahamas or places like Biloxi. None of which provide any gambling revenue to Florida either.

    Gambling has been legal for a long time in, or right next to, Florida, as long as you know where to go.

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Friends,

    Merry Christmas to all.

    A libertarian streak in me that emerges almost anytime I see government trying to legislate morality. Quite simply, some people want to play cards while on vacation. I personally don’t find gambling very fun, but if it floats your boat, have at it as far as I’m concerned. Places should exist offering people the entertainment they seek so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else.

    Our job in Florida isn’t to judge whether gambling is moral. State officials are not qualified to answer that question. We the people decide that. Their job is to place ballot questions before us. We will choose if we want them. Their job is to determine if Florida would benefit from gambling and how to contain any ills that gambling would introduce.

    In making a decision to expand gaming, the Legislature needs to balance the relevant financial benefits against any negative societal impacts. Put it on the ballot. And let us choose. Trying to legislate morality is above the pay grade of a Legislator. Kindly stop being so arrogant and just do your job. We shall do ours.

    Tourism is Job #1 in Florida and we in Broward are an important part of that industry. Tourism is at the root of how Florida makes money. Tourism, more than any other factor, brought Florida as we know it today out from the wilderness. It’s made Florida the 4th most populated state in America.

    Make no mistake.

    Without Florida’s weather, beaches and natural beauty, without our entertainment centers, there would be no millions of tourists coming here every year to enjoy it all. This state would never would have flourished without tourism. We would be a sad fraction of who we are today without tourism. We flourish because people visit us. Tourism is what Florida does for a living and everything else we do is a side job.

    Gambling will bring many more tourists to Florida because it brings with it higher spenders. That means bigger swankier hotels, top notch entertainers. Money magnetically attracts other money. There will be more jobs, greater economic opportunity, a lowered reliance on residents for tax generation, nicer facilities for everyone, better restaurants, services, retail you name it. All that takes money and gambling brings it.

    The disadvantages comes in terms of quality of life issues. Here we MUST BE CAREFUL. There is a clear link between gambling and drugs. Gambling and prostitution. Gambling and loan sharking. These ills are historically well linked to gaming. Nobody wants to see those things happen and none of them are necessary for gambling to be successful.

    So it seems to me the quesiton has to be posed directly to Law Enforcement and I have not seen that happening to the degree necessary.

    Do our cops believe that they can contain the ill effects of gambling? Lessons in law enforcement have been learned from Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The Hard Rock locally has taught our police much. If they think it is possible to contain these ills, then I am willing to allow them to try. I am willing to give them any resources needed. These are the proper questions for a State Legislature to be asking.

    It should never be about State government trying to legislate morality. Asking the government to legislate morality is like asking a lion to become a vegetarian. Morality gets decided by the people, outside of government. Government needs to be about providing for the common good and protecting our quality of life. This they can hope to do and on the quesiton of gambling I hope they will try.

    If the law enforcement community believe that they can contain the ill effects of gambling while allowing the economic benefits to rain down on our state, I would give it a try by authorizing a statute that permits gaming in hotels — subject to local adoption by ballot question — for an initial trial period of five years. There should be a required independent study the impacts and a public reporting at the end of year four. This gives local residents a full year to discuss the impacts before deciding whether to keep gaming on a more permanent basis. If some counties want it, fine. If some don’t that’s fine too. Let each decide for themselves what they want.

    To me that is a prudent and proper way for government to proceed.

    Happy New Year,


  5. Kevin says:

    every time the Lotto gets up to a high number, and there is a huge line of people buying Lotto tickets at Publix, I always want to hand out copies of “Probability for Dummies.”

  6. Paul Gougelman says:

    The question is not whether we are going to allow gambling. The questions are how much gambling to allow in South Florida and where will it be located?

    There has been painfully little discussion about who is behind the new casinos, how much money “they” will be making versus what the state’s cut is, how the casinos will be insulated from organized crime, how much the workers will really make, where each of the new casino structures will be located, how will casino structures change the neighborhoods in which they are located, how much money local government will make off the proposal (local government will need to deal with the “effects” of each new casino), and 50 other questions I can think of.

    All we hear is the typical pablem. South Florida will get jobs. It’ll be great, and we’ll all be rich.

    I am not opposed to the casino proposal, but I think we need alot more information and discussion before we jump on this freight train.

    My guess is it doesn’t pass this year, an election year. It will pass in 2013, an off-year. There will be little meaningful discussion. No we all won’t get rich, but a very select few of us will. In South Florida, that is reason enough for the proposal to pass the Legislature. After all, this is Florida, and the rules are different here.

  7. Real Deal says:

    Be suspicious if the state doesn’t start by duplicating an established and successful model, the Las Vegas has. They should duplicate everything about it even the tax rates and distribution. If we see them making shit up, that’s when we know deals are being cut.

    As to who what initial group of casion owners there might be, I really don’t care so long each has been fully investigated by law enforcement. Give them a license and then watch them like hawks.

  8. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    What was I hearing oh about a year ago” there will be no casino chips on my beach” This is a no brainer we need a casino for no other reason for the jobs that they will bring this CITY. What are some of you afaird of? I mean really. Another good location would be the old Irelands Inn. are you listening Mr.Jorege Perez(you met your match w/ him Mr.Seitz, no offense-). Lets roll the dice…Beach, sand, dice. Perfect fit.

  9. Safe & Legal says:

    @ Angelo Castillo: Why do you falsely state that prostitution is an “ill”?

    Prostitution has been safe, legal and regulated in Nevada since 1971. Mandatory weekly STD testing began in 1986. Condoms became mandatory in 1988. In the 25-26 years since STD testing began, no full-time brothel prostitute has ever tested positive for HIV.

    Nevadans of every political persuasion, including Republicans, support Nevada’s legal & well regulated prostitution. A July 2011 poll found that “More Nevadans are in favor of legalizing prostitution across the state than allowing online poker gambling. 56%, including 65% of independents, 56% of Democrats, and even 51% of Republicans, believe prostitution should be legal, and 32% think it should not. Meanwhile, only 40% think online poker should be legal, while 42% believe it should be illegal. Nevadans may see it as a threat to casino tourism.”

    Nevada receives brothel licensing fees of up to $100,000 per year. Prostitutes receive federal 1099-MISC tax forms and they must pay income tax on their earnings. Customers pay $200 for 15 minutes with a single prostitute, or around $10,000 per hour for a “superstar” prostitute or for “parties” with multiple prostitutes.

    Prostitution is at least as good a business as casino gambling, and probably a much stronger attraction for Florida tourists. Legal and well regulated prostitution would be far more economically powerful than casino gambling.

    Instead of falsely claiming that prostitution is bad, Angelo Castillo and other Floridians should look at the facts and wake up to the economic potential of legal and well regulated prostitution, which would be a clean, non-polluting green business that safely and vigorously expands Florida’s ailing economy.

  10. Put The Casino In Pem Pines says:

    Angelo must tell us if he would accept a big casino in Pembroke Pines. Maybe in place of that prison, which I believe is really in Southwest Ranches.

  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I can say this much — I only wish my choices were between a casino in Pembroke Pines and the immigration detention center being imposed on us by the Town of SW Ranches. That choice would be easy. I’d choose the casino. My city has no interest in either by the way, or any choices to make at all with respect to the detention center matter. It seems the federal government couldn’t care less what impacts their facilities have on neighboring cities. Their good neighbor policy ends at a neighboring city line.

    Since you brought this matter up with me, my hunch is most tourists they would prefer their casinos to be located on the beach — near the natural resource that draws them to our area. You might say, well, the Hard Rock doesn’t seem to have much trouble bringing tourists in and they’re not on the beach. That’s true, but at present they don’t have competition. It’s unclear how they would do if there were several beach locations for gambling.

    Prostitution is serious concern, an illegal act in the State of Florida and as such it constitutes a societal ill. Illegal prostitution often involves a well documented slave market for mostly young women and increasingly younge men. Child prostitution is in increasing demand worldwide. Floridians won’t welcome anything about that one bit. As to the green benefits of prostitution, please. Give me a break. The only thing green about it is the cash.

    In fact, there’s nothing about prostitution that we should want in Florida. It is dehumanizing and pitiful quite frankly on both sides of the transaction. It carries significant public health risks irrespective of the so-called STD prevention successes of other jurisdictions.

    Broward County has the highest rate of newly diagnosed cases of HIV per capita in the United States. Our rates of HIV and STD transmission in this county are shocking by world standards. Those of us in the public health community are in a pretty good position to suggest that Broward County is not a good place for casual, unprotected sex on average. If tourists want to come here for that reason, they are well advised to think twice. I personally would be happy to send them elsewhere.

    Similarly if they seek to do drugs here, I’m happy to send them elsewhere also. As indicated, there is a strong link between gambling, drugs and prostitution wherever gambling is introduced.

    Floridians will want assurances from law enforcement that this link can be eliminated or contained to an absolute minimum if gaming is to be successfully expanded in our State.

    These terms that I have suggested for gambling are very clear and I think very workable. Required is a balance between our quality of life and the economic benefits of the industry acquired. One should not come at the price of the other. Floridians are not willing to trade one for the other.

    The question of expanding gambling should not be a moral decision for Tallahasee. We the people make the moral choices. What we require from the Legislature is a tactical decision, the creation of a predictable scenario where gaming can be expanded without fear of destroying our quality of life. Then the decision to proceed should be up to us as voters.



  12. Where's the money? says:

    One thing “Safe and Legal” forgot to mention. Prostitution may be legal in other areas of Nevada it isn’t in Las Vegas. Wanna visit a brothel? You gotta cross the county line. In Vegas, it’s an unregulated crime.

  13. WishfulThinking says:

    I have no problem with the state allowing casino gambling and leave it to traditional planning and market techniques to identify the best places to locate them. However, the market for this kind of business is probably saturated right now. There isn’t some well of gambling revenues and profits that gets deeper and deeper each time a new one is opened. There are only so many highrollers, grayhair gamblers, and the like out there that can be jetted or bused in.

  14. sixskreetscholar says:

    Interesting debate

  15. Enough Already Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Commissioner Castillo:

    Your Day Job where you get paid over a $150,000 a year is at Broward House which is an AIDS center. You are the President / CEO there.

    One would think that you would use that in conjunction with your night job of Commissioner of Pembroke where you are paid over $30,000 a year in order to stop the HIGH INCIDENCE of AIDS in Broward County but no. You pontificate on everything but doing your core job.

    The Broward Gay Community has had it with the extremely high HIV transmission rate in Broward County (presently it is number 2 in the nation by population).

    We are concerned about funding from President Obama and the do nothing Congressional delegation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings, Ted Deutch and Frederica Wilson (although she does wear cute hats). We are concerned that the Democrats are not funding an issue that is super important to the Gay Community right here in Broward County.

    Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo, stop with the platform building for your run for the Broward Commission, or the Florida Legislature or Congress and do your job and help stop the transmission of HIV and AIDS.

    The STRAIGHT and GAY Community including Transexuals, Bisexuals, Transgenders are in need of leadership and funding.

    As a DEMOCRATIC Pembroke Pines City Commissioner that happens to be the head of the largest HIV /AIDS center in Broward County it is up to you to find solutions and implement them.

    It is up to the Government to Stop HIV and AIDS.

    As part of the Government you should be at the forefront of saving lives Commissioner Castillo.

    Do your job for the Gay Community like you promised us you would. We are part of the DEMOCRATIC Family in Broward County and we will not let you or anyone else watch us die day by day.

    You promised us you wouldn’t.

    Do your job.

  16. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Wishful,

    I’m interested in learning more about saturation that you mention. Do you know of any materials that discuss that subject? I could not find any market driven studies for it. Thanks.


  17. Everyone Can Help! says:

    One very simple way that everyone can help fight HIV (and do so at no cost!!) is through participation in the World Community Grid’s “Fight Aids @ Home” scientific computing project. Visit for information, and to join up!

  18. Angelo Castillo, CEO Broward House says:

    Dear Enough:

    My hope is that you are HIV negative, but if not and you need help Broward House is there to help you. Call us at (954) 522-4749 and be confident. We’re good at what we do, we care, calling us is completely confidential, and we never turn anyone away.


  19. Pines/Broward says:


    You are the worst Commissioner we have ever had in Pembroke Pines history. I am not sure if you are more full of shit or more full of lies. You talk all kinds of crap and deliver on nothing. Big man on campus and a control freak, but a do nothing. We will be working day and night against you for Pines Commissioner or County Commissioner. You are a free loader on the taxpayers dime. You must go!!!

  20. congrats says:

    thank you enough, you all but put a sock in angleo, very rare but thankful when it happens. last time i saw it happen it was when he was asked if judy stern ran his campaign, hmmm, aaah, no, well sorta, but kinda not, duh…

  21. Ron Mills says:

    Florida is already a gaming state. We need to acknowledge that and move forward to ensure Florida reaps the benefits of regulated gaming. Increased oversight and management in the gaming industry is needed, and the bill before the legislature is a step towards that.

    Unfortunately, the editorial left out the main benefit of bringing casinos to South Florida: jobs. If approved, these casinos will provide jobs in a variety of fields, including in the construction industry. They will provide steady paychecks to workers, many of whom are currently unemployed.

    With our jobless rate in double-digits, this part of the debate over gaming cannot be ignored. We need to look at all options that will help people get back to work.

  22. Red Herrings R Castillo says:

    Hey Angelo, how many logical fallacies did you commit just on the prostitution topic? Let’s count them!

    1) Circular cause and consequence – Prostitution is a social ill because it’s illegal, and it’s illegal because it’s a social ill.

    2) Red Herring – Sex trafficking. The topic, however, is LEGAL prostitution – well regulated, with legal regulations on who employers can hire.

    3) Red Herring – Child prostitution. The topic is LEGAL prostitution – well regulated, with legal regulations on who employers can hire.

    4) Special Pleading – By definition, a green business is non-polluting and environmentally friendly. Brothel prostitution creates no pollution. Castillo “attempts to cite [prostitution] as an exemption to a generally accepted rule or principle [green business] without justifying the exemption”.

    5) Special Pleading – Public Health – Castillo “attempts to cite [legal prostitution in Florida] as an exemption to a generally accepted rule or principle [legal brothels are STD-free, with a well established 20+ year perfect record] without justifying the exemption”.

    6) Psychologist’s fallacy – an observer presupposes the objectivity of his own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event – Castillo falsely imputes his own paternalistic, biased perspective that prostitution “is dehumanizing and pitiful quite frankly on both sides of the transaction” – but this is not the viewpoint of brothel prostitutes (see, nor is it the viewpoint of their customers.

    7) Red Herring – “casual, unprotected sex” – has nothing to do with legal prostitution, because “Mandatory weekly STD testing began in 1986. Condoms became mandatory in 1988.” This is not just protected sex, it is hyper-protected sex.

  23. Broward Voter says:

    Castillo is correct. If gambling is going to unleash things like prostitution then we can do without it. Florida is a clean state. Go move to Nevada if you want whores.

  24. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Red,

    Thank you for your insights. I think I speak for everyone on this blog in saying that we found your comments illuminating. You have identified many arguments with regard to legalizing prostitution that, I admit, had never occurred to me. It just goes to show that you can learn something new every day.

    It’s clear that you believe Floridians are itching (no pun intended) to legalize prostitution. Therefore, I’m guessing you should encounter very little difficulty finding any number of well informed State Legislators willing to sponsor this important and necessary change to state law. Clearly, something so popular, logical and well intended as legalizing prostitution — something so in keeping with good public health practice and mainstream policy thinking — should instantly draw many Legislators to sponsor it. Without question, your efforts will capture their immediate attention. Please keep us posted on how that goes for you.

    Alternatively, you could always start a signature campaign to add the legalization of prostitution into our State Constitution. This way nobody can ever mess with it again. 60% voter approval should be a walk in the park on an issue this popular. I mean heck, the merits of your green industry argument alone is bound to change thousands of minds out there. I’d suggest a door-to-door campaign to get your signatures. There’s nothing quite like asking people to support an important issue at their own doorstep. You should receive a great deal of positive feedback and suspect little difficulty finding many volunteers willing to give of their time to get this done once and for all.

    In the meanwhile, please forgive if those of us who actually work in the public health professions continue taking less creative approaches to keeping our residents healthy.

    Best regards for your upcoming trip to Nevada. If a red herring should pop up there, please put a condom on it.


    PS — Happy and Healthy New Year to One and All!

  25. Safe & Legal says:

    Broward Voter, if you think there is no prostitution in Florida then you are seriously disconnected from reality. The Sun-Sentinel reported just yesterday that “Rothstein spent tens of thousands of dollars per month on prostitutes” – you think all that revenue went into a non-existent industry? And below is a link to an April 2011 article from a retired Miami police detective who clearly and publicly states: “We should legalize prostitution. … if anyone thinks that laws against prostitution (are) going to put a stop to pay-for-sex activity in a free society, they must still believe in the tooth fairy.”

  26. Broward Voter says:

    Florida has no intetest in legalizing prostitution you degenerate pathetic moron.

  27. Safe & Legal says:

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” — Schopenhauer

  28. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Buddy, I totally agree with you, especially taking some of the income from the Hard Rock….there were taxis two blocks long trying to get people in and out and there was no where to even walk,…..bring some money over to the east side of town.