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No Casinos comes out decisively against Dana Young’s gambling bill

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Just minutes after House Majority Leader Dana Young released her much-awaited casino gambling legislation, Orlando-based group No Casinos, Inc. released a set of statements blasting the proposal.

“This bill would cause the biggest expansion of gambling in Florida history,” said No Casinos President John Sowinski. “It invites wall-to-wall casino gambling in Florida, and the social costs and crime that go with it.”

“It creates so much new gambling that it also launches a vast new government bureaucracy to try to regulate it,” inveighed Sowinski, a barb aimed at ostensibly small-government Republicans creating a new regulatory panel in the bill, dubbed the Department of Gaming Control.

“It defies logic for Florida to increase its dependence on gambling at a time when casino economies across America are imploding,” concluded Sowinski.

The proposal — which in fairness is by no means final — comes following a recent spate of articles chronicling the decline and fall of several gambling establishments in Atlantic City NJ.

Critics of gaming expansion — who notably break down quite apart from party line, as do proponents — point to the city as an example of a failed experiment in adding revenue by inviting casinos to set up shop.

Young’s proposal comes in three linked parts: HB 1233, HB 1235 and HB 1237.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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