The long-awaited second-part report regarding the viability of expanded gambling in Florida has finally passed the draft phase, and if the contents are any indication of what lies ahead for the state if it expands gambling, then the state is poised to receive a huge economic boost by way of full-scale resort casinos that will set up shop in the state.
According to the second report developed by Spectrum Gaming Group, the opening of a pair of major gambling resorts in two counties, one in Miami-Dade and one in Broward, has the combined potential of generating as much as $1 billion in gambling revenue for the state per year. On top of that, these two integrated resorts and casinos will also create a wealth of employment opportunities: 7,618, as per the report.
“The state could immediately become a major international competitor for the ultra-high-end traveler who includes casino gambling as part of his/her entertainment experience,” the report said.
“In this regard, Florida could compete with Las Vegas, Macau and other world-class casino markets for the highest-stakes players.”
This conclusion should ring music to the ears of casino developers, a lot of whom have lobbied for years for Florida to officially legalize gambling in the state. With promises of economic growth and the creation of thousands of jobs, these operators now have a state-commissioned report to back up their claims that legalizing gambling would be an economic boon for the state.
Florida’s vast leisure and entertainment opportunities would complement these casinos to give tourists and high rollers a multitude of options to spend their hard-earned money on.
It should be noted that the first part of Spectrum’s report, which was released back in July, expressed concern about gambling expansion in the state. “Expanded gambling may fundamentally change the state of Florida as a place to live and visit,” the July report said regarding the “image repurcussions” of having expanded gambling in the state.
“Rather than benefiting the state, expanded gambling could make Florida a less-attractive tourist destination.”
But the equally comprehensive second Spectrum report, which looked into the economic ramifications of expanded gambling in the state, pointed to huge economic growth potential for the state, especially under the most expansive scenario, which estimates the state having 33 casinos spread across 19 counties, generating an estimated 16,100 jobs with spending amounting to $2.6 billion. Under the least expansive scenario, the numbers drop to 16 casinos in 16 counties with only 1,700 new jobs with additional spending amounting to $172 million.
The report also indicated that the best possible scenario as far as driving economic growth is to have these casinos concentrated in South Florida where a lot of the state’s tourist attractions are located. Spread the casino love throughout the state and that impact is reduced to “moderately positive”.
Some of the biggest casino operators in the world, including Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, and Genting Group have all expressed interest in building huge resorts and casinos in South Florida. Spectrum’s report, should give their claims and promises of economic growth in the tourist hub some legs to stand on.
Whether that translates to finally getting the expanded gambling green light a lot of these companies have been clamoring for remains to be seen. Calls for the state to do so have stalled in the past and there’s no concrete indication that the decision makers have made a complete about-face on the issue.
But if you’re one of those clamoring for expanded gambling that would allow full-scale casinos in the state, this second report by Spectrum touching on the economic impact of expanded gambling is a good source to have in your continued quest to allow these large casinos into the state.