South Florida Business Journal by Kevin Gale, Editor in Chief
Date: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 11:25am EST
The Miami Beach City Commission has voted down the concept of not only a destination gambling resort in the city, but the expansion of gambling in Florida in general.
The commission unanimously voted in favor of a resolution introduced by Mayor Mattie Herrera Bower to oppose the expansion of gambling, said Commissioner Jerry Libbin, who is also president and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
He also made a motion, which was unanimously supported by the commission, to do a study of the impact of destination gambling resorts if the Florida Legislature approves a bill. Current legislation calls for up to two destination gambling resorts in Miami-Dade County and one in Broward County.
Whether the legislation would be an economic benefit or hurt the region's image and other economic development efforts has been a hotly debated topic.
"We wanted to send a continuing strong message to the Legislature that we are not interested in casino or resort destination gaming," Libbin said in a phone interview Thursday. "Not only in Miami Beach are we not interested, we are opposed to any expansion of gaming throughout Florida."
Libbin said about 250 people attended the meeting, and none of them raised their hand when the mayor asked if anyone was in favor a gambling resort on Miami Beach.
Las Vegas gambling kingpin Steve Wynn had talked about the Miami Beach Convention Center as a possible location for a destination gambling resort, while Genting Group has announced plans for a $3.8 billion downtown Miami resort with more convention space than the Miami Beach facility.
Libbin said earlier this week that Miami Beach has hired a consulting firm to consider how the area around the convention center might be redeveloped, which could possibly help fund a 350-room convention center hotel.