Miami can become a compelling real city in the future rather than ape other theme park meccas or zones of chance and illusion. Opening the floodgates to casino gambling in Miami Dade County will badly hurt our quality of life.
What’s being proposed? The Genting Corporation, a Malaysia firm, bought the Miami Herald building (for $256 million) as well as the Omni ($160m). They seek to build a resort with 5,200 rooms, fifty restaurants and two of the world’s largest large gambling casinos. If casino gambling takes over downtown Miami, other casinos will follow all over the county; the competition is already fierce; the whole character of the region will be forever changed.
Is that the legacy we want to leave for our grandchildren?
Do you want Miami to become another gambling mecca? Think about the quality of life in Atlantic City. Las Vegas has the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country.
We need creative public inclusion in the planning process and large private investments to make Miami’s downtown waterfront become the uniquely vibrant “real” city that it can be – not transformed into an inward looking resort that primarily benefits a small elite. If casino gambling passes in the state legislature, struggling downtown businesses will be stifled, and the area will be undermined as a cultural center. Miami Beach will be badly affected.
The scale of the Genting Resorts development will make our region less attractive for high tech professionals, artists and families. Crime and corruption will inevitably increase. The social costs of gambling (addiction, crime, prostitution, organized crime)- particularly in a poor downtown area- will be significant. California estimated $1bn in social costs and has not accepted gambling. Don’t we want to wake up from our reputation as “sin city east” rather than fuel it further?
Yet, many argue, jobs and sorely needed revenue will come. Surely there will be temporary work in construction but what kinds of long-term jobs will come? We have heard this before and know that better jobs can be stimulated in other ways. And who will guarantee that the jobs will benefit local people? The desperate competition of local governments for revenue can ruin the urban texture now being improved in the downtown area? Taxpayers will inevitably pay more for infrastructure costs, police protection and more.
We believe that area residents can become involved in public design workshops, to seriously consider seriously what Miami wants – rather than what Casino advocates might see as their own best interest. We have other alternatives. We should ask hard questions – now. Could we create a bond issue to fund a major community center, park and land for spectacular business headquarters within a publicly designed waterfront of stunning originality? Why not? We might even forge synergy with Genting towards a better design – without Casino gambling.
What can you do?
(1) Pass on the word and tell others to speak out.
(2) Write state and local legislators and say NO TO CASINO GAMBLING IN MIAMI DADE.
Stop Casino Gambling in the State Legislature- NOW!
www.commonsensemiami.com or www.uel.org