Letter to Miami Beach Officials

Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2011 23:03:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Gambling Question
To: MayorBower@miamibeachfl.gov, Deede@miamibeachfl.gov,Ed@miamibeachfl.gov,
Jerry@miamibeachfl.gov, Jonah@miamibeachfl.gov,
Michael@miamibeachfl.gov, Jorge@miamibeachfl.gov

Dear Honorable Mayor Bower, Commissioners and City Manager:

We are sorry we will be unable to speak at the City of Miami Beach’s Public Hearing on the topic of Gambling, but we will be out of town visiting family (grandson, especially!). We hope to have the opportunity to meet with each of you when we return in mid December, but know it is a busy time of year, so we are writing to you now.

The study of the benefits and costs of gambling is still ongoing. But we can look at the unemployment rate of 14% in Las Vegas and we can look how the gaming industry has siphoned revenue away from hotels, retail stores, and restaurants in Atlantic City and elsewhere. In Atlantic City small business owners have testified to the loss of their businesses when casinos opened there. “In 1978 (the year the first casino opened) there were 311 taverns and restaurants in Atlantic City. Nineteen years later only 66 remained, despite the promise that gaming would be good for the city’s own”. *

It is difficult to quantify the social costs and benefits, but we can read the crime statistics in Las Vegas where the Crime Index is 1, where 100 is safest. In other words, Las Vegas is safer than 1% of the cities in the U.S. The chance of being a violent crime victim in Las Vegas is 1 in 4; 1 in 10 for a property crime, per the “Neighborhood Scout” report.

As long time residents of Miami Beach, we can most certainly tell you that we do NOT want to live in Las Vegas South. As our former governor and senator Bob Graham has said, “we’re sacrificing our long-term future for a very short-term advantage that will offer very little economic opportunity for Floridians”. It is not a panacea to economic hardship or unemployment. More local businesses and jobs are lost to a community as a result of destination resort casinos than are created.

Norman Braman, Marty Margolies, Armando Codina, Tony Goldman and many other community leaders have spoken out against this issue. I will not repeat their arguments here, as you have heard them

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already and know you are fully aware of the traffic impacts, social costs, infrastructure strains, and negative impact on business owners especially in our hospitality industry.

Miami is now internationally renowned for world class culture. With the Frank Gehry designed New World Center, the Miami Art Museum currently under construction, the world class New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, and Art Basel Miami Beach our hotels are filled, tourism is healthy and we do not need or want the gaming industry in South Florida! We already have heavy traffic problems and a straining infrastructure. And none of our civic and cultural accomplishments is compatible with a Steve Wynn Casino Destination Resort in Miami Beach. Let’s get our Convention Center expanded and renovated and keep our quality of life. Thank you for your consideration.

Joy and J. Fred Malakoff

* National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Atlantic City, N.J. January 22, 1998

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