Local businesses open and filled with customers, children and families enjoying white sand beaches, full hotel rooms- that’s a good summer vacation in Destin. In fact, for many of Florida’s coastal towns that rely on visitors and tourism, that’s a good year. According to Visit Florida, more than 97 million visitors came to our state last year. For Florida, that number signifies jobs, growth and competitiveness, and comes from the multi-faceted efforts of local communities and chambers of commerce, and organizations like the Florida Chamber, Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA.
But our state hasn’t just garnered attention from visitors around the world- it has also earned a bulls-eye from mega Las Vegas-style casinos seeking to expand into our state.
In Destin, we want to keep Florida summers alive. That’s why we join the Florida Chamber in opposing Las Vegas- style casinos.
Las Vegas-style mega casinos promised once thriving coastal communities a boost to their economies and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. But facts are, as we know, stubborn things. A look at the blighted economy of Atlantic City provides all the insight we need as to why expanding Las Vegas-style casinos in Florida is a bad bet- thousands of jobs lost, millions lost in revenue, countless casinos closing. And in the wake of this downfall? A coastal town that once treasured their summers.
On November 28, 2011, our board of directors passed a resolution opposing the expansion of gambling in Florida. We stand by that position today. In November 2013, I was proud to stand before Senate President Don Gaetz and his committee on gaming to express our chamber’s concerns about and opposition to the expansion of gambling in our great state.
We cannot let Florida go the way of Atlantic City. We hope you will join us and the Florida Chamber in opposing the expansion of Las Vegas-style gambling.
Written by Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP, President & CEO, Destin Area Chamber of Commerce