With all precincts reporting, those in favor of allowing slot machines at a newly opened pari-mutuel facility in Gretna dramatically outpaced those opposed.
6,042 voters were in favor of allowing slots at Gretna, while 3,558 were opposed.
Some residents say they’re voting in favor of slot machines to bring jobs and more business to the small town. Others are opposing it on moral grounds, saying slot machines will attract crime and social problems.
Myeisha Paul, 25, who voted in favor of slots in today’s referendum, said she wants to get a job at the 160-acre Wind Creek entertainment center, which has promised to expand with a hotel and convention center and casino if the proposal passes.
“I voted ‘yes’ because I feel like we need more jobs in Gretna,” said Paul, who grew up in Gretna and is taking online college classes. She said finding a job otherwise would be hard because she has no car. The Wind Creek complex is located off the Interstate 10 interchange in Gretna.
Pastor Charles Scriven of Corinth Christian Fellowship Church in Midway held up a “Vote no” sign at the courthouse square in downtown Quincy. Scriven, part of an association of about a half dozen churches opposing slot machines, said gambling will attract crime to the county and hurt the poor.
“You are drawing on people who can least afford it,” Scriven said.
Material from the Tallahassee Democrat was used in this report.