Why are business groups like the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Disney fighting against a proposed Biscayne Bay casino? Carl Hiaasen explains in his new column, “In Fla. Casino Fight, All Bets Are Off.”
An international resort company wants to build a huge casino on the shore of Biscayne Bay, where the Miami Herald now stands.
Journalists aren’t sentimental but they do appreciate irony. Having editorially crusaded for decades against opening South Florida to Vegas-style gaming, the Herald will soon be humbly relocated to make way for an extravagant $2 billion palace of wagering.
Given the wheezing state of the newspaper industry, we should have negotiated with the buyers to save a little corner of their casino for our newsroom. The weekly take from one row of slot machines would probably cover the payroll for a dozen first-rate reporters and editors.
The casino project by Genting Americas would be one of three mega-resorts permitted in Florida under a bill filed in the Legislature. The deal is no slam-dunk, even though the gambling industry has enough dough to paper the halls of the state capitol.
Here’s the glitch. There’s this little outfit up in Orlando that doesn’t like the casino plan one bit. Disney is the name, and it has the money, the lobbyists and the insider connections to fight back and win.