Miami-Dade Slots Election

The Parimutuels are warming up their campaign to bring “Vegas Style slots” to their Miami-Dade facilities. They have for months been operating a call center in North Miami making direct contract with interest groups that political operatives say will make a difference in the vote. A television campaign is being produced and initial air time has been reserved. Proponents are quietly spreading the word that “polls are looking good.” That’s what everybody says early on. Four years ago Miami-Dade voters barely nixed the slots measure that passed in Broward County. Since that time slot operations have opened at Gulfstream, Pompano Harness Track and Hollywood Dog Track. They are operating with mixed results. Some of the best South Florida political minds are at work on the Miami-Dade project: Ron Book, Brian May, and newly minted P.R. guy Ed O’dell. At this writing the opposition has promised “a grass roots effort,” but no hard money seems to becoming down the pike in any great amount. Family Values groups, the Baptist Church and greyhound activists all promise a skirmish. How effective they will be remains to be seen as most of the issues raised during the last campaign against slots really did not materialize. We have not heard much about any increase in crime in and around the slot operations, we have not heard about any businesses being closed because of competition with casino restaurants, have property values dropped near the operations? Local real estate listings include “located near new casinos,” as come-ons. We have not heard from the Compulsive Gambling organizations that there has been an increase in “problem gamblers.” There maybe but we have not heard about it. Broward’s gambling enterprise has been a disappointment as far as revenue. At this point revenues for the state have not been much to write home about. That might be something the anti gaming forces can hang their hat on; failure to deliver the promised bucks. But bottom line, it seems reasonable that at this point why the slots advocates are low key, “the otherside” has not done much and the election is January 29th. Also missing from the issue, former Governor Jeb Bush who mustered up all his political muscle to whip the slots in Miami-Dade last time around. “We will get it when we get a new Governor,” was a quote from one disappointed slot promoter after the defeat. They do have a new Governor, Charley Crist, who just signed a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe which would bring those very same “Vegas Slots” to the Hardrock Hotel.


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