Dear Madame Mayor and Commissioners,
I join many residents in urging you NOT to allow a casino development anywhere in Miami Beach.
Negative quality of life impacts from a casino will kill your years of work to give our city its unique image and identity.
What makes Miami Beach so special? how would a casino fit in?
• Our historic districts in a walk-able tropical city environment.
Casinos are built to be windowless bunkers that capture and hold gamblers within. They will talk about ‘respecting the community’
but holding people indoors is their business model.
• Urbane choices and behaviors. Miami Beach, thanks to many influences, is rare in the US as a see-and-be-seen, promenade along Lincoln Road, Collins, the beach walk, culture. Casinos are glitzy enclaves cut off from the street, except for where the charter buses pull up.
• Miami Beach shows attractive active bodies. Miami Beach is advertised as a hangout for models, sexy people in clubs, volleyball teams on the beach, and now happy active visitors on Deco Bikes. Based on what I saw on a magazine assignment in Las Vegas, casinos capture lonely people who sit immobile and indoors for hours, and no longer care about their appearance. They arrive in charter buses, their sedentary indoor habit clashes with the image Miami Beach has promoted, thanks to the Bruce Weber photos, Ocean Drive Magazine, and all those condo’ developer ads showing girls on roller-blades. Gamblers will not be doing yoga on the beach. Visually they will clash with the PR for Miami Beach.
• Arts and culture on a par with major cities. Miami Beach has worked hard to add to our known “brands” of pretty buildings and pretty people, with the advent of Art Basel and the New World Symphony setting. Our press coverage will be sabotaged with the dissonant intrusion of “casino” – identified as the cheesiest in-and-out real estate-busted crassest places in America, Las Vegas and Atlantic City. There will be “cognitive dissonance.” The brain cannot accept casino and culture. It’s casino OR culture. What will be your legacy?
• In a recent Forbes article*, Las Vegas was cited just second after Miami as the worst city to find a job. So…who is bluffing that casinos rescue an economy? The Financial Times noted that casinos are extremely vulnerable to economic downturns. Vegas and Atlantic City are monuments of non-viable cities. The ONLY places where casinos consistently bring revenues are close to millions of Chinese, and now they too may get slammed. Casinos in Miami will not deliver any more jobs than that other great boondoggle the Marlins Stadium.
Thanks to preservationists, among them our Mayor, Miami Beach held on to its irreplaceable visual ‘brand’. No amount of advertising and PR could have achieved this.
We’ve got the passing parade. People look good. We even have the art world.
So who wants to gamble with this?
Please vote NO on any casino.
Respectfully, Clotilde Luce, 301 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2011/11/23/americas-worst-cities-for-finding-a-job/ (underline added)
“SimplyHired also ranks Miami at the top of its list, but it says there are not 4, but 8 unemployed people per job opening. Las Vegas comes in second on its list, also with 8 potential applicants per posting, and Los Angeles is third, with 6 unemployed people per opening.”
“Resorts World, New York City’s first casino, opened on Friday against the backdrop of a struggling gaming industry in the US, which has failed to recover from the financial downturn.
Genting Malaysia, the gambling company that opened the casino connected to the Aqueduct racetrack in the borough of Queens, said it expects the casino to handle about $8bn to $10bn next year. However, the company declined to comment on how much it was likely to earn.
“The casino opening comes as Las Vegas, which was devastated by the financial crisis, has seen a steady decline in gambling totals and high unemployment levels, led by the end of the hotel construction boom.”
Also: www.ft.com/indepth/casinos and:
“Macao casino operators were hit by large falls in their share prices on Friday as investors became increasingly nervous about the impact of the slowdown in the mainland Chinese economy.
Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, the US gaming groups now making most of their profit in Macao, saw shares in their Hong Kong-listed subsidiaries lose 17 per cent and 14 per cent respectively, their worst one-day performance since listing two years ago.”