MIAMI (CBS4) – With an ominous voice over a bed of scary music, the announcer says, “Big gambling…they say Florida’s the next Vegas…”
It’s part of a new TV ad that’s hitting the airwaves Friday. It’s aimed at convincing you that putting mega casinos in South Florida, like the proposed Genting project in downtown Miami, is a bad, dangerous idea.
“It’s very slick,” said Nova Southeastern University Professor and gambling law expert Bob Jarvis. “But it’s not accurate, not truthful.”
Javis calls the ad a scare tactic – with no facts to back it up.
“The ad wants you to believe that here will be crime on every street corner if you allow casinos,” he said. “And that’s simply has never happened anywhere. “
Tell that to Luke Ythasunshorn. In January of 2009,he was held up in his drive way after leaving a casino.
“He looked at me, held his gun and said give me your watch,” he recalled. That was a $30,000 Rolex. But Jarvis believes crimes like that can happen anywhere.
“There have been crimes when people leave casinos, but you know what, there have been crimes when people leave shopping malls and nobody is advocating we close down shopping malls,” said Jarvis
Former state lawmaker Dan Gelber is with NoCasinos.org. He says crime, bankruptcy and social woes are all part of the package.
“The mega casinos they’re talking about bringing in to our community are the largest casinos in the history of the world,” said Gelber. “One of them alone would be equivalent of 7 of the largest casinos in Las Vegas.”
Gelber said we have nothing to compare the proposed resort casinos to – that even though there is plenty of gambling here now – this would be like nothing we’ve seen before .
“That’s like saying you have a 7-11 on the corner so why not just have a Sawgrass Mills. There’s a huge differencing proportion in what we’re talking about,” said Gelber.
The television spot ends with the announcing saying, “What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas! Tell our elected officials, keep big gambling out of Florida.”
The ad begins airing in South Florida today, it’s also running in Tallahassee where lawmakers are debating it.