Supporters and opponents of the controversial casino bill filed by GOP state legislators are taking their messages to the media.
The bill filed by state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, would, according to The Miami Herald, allow three “full Las Vegas-style games” in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Associated Industries of Florida, the lobbying group that is working this year for the pro-casino “destination resorts” bill, has launched an ad promoting the effort today, running for two weeks.
The ad, which sources say is a media buy that exceeds $100,000, is scheduled to run on cable and news stations in North Florida. One primary target — Florida legislators — who will be in town next week for a very busy committee week.
According to the Herald, Florida House and Senate committees will discuss the bill this week.
Associated Industries also launched an online campaign, More Jobs for Florida, ”dedicated to the destination resort issue.”
According to More Jobs for Florida, “as a result of the current recession,” Florida “has to consider new ways to grow its economic base to provide new jobs and a more stable economy” — something destination resorts will accomplish.
NoCasinos.org counts among its supporters the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Attractions Association, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Sheriff’s Association.
No Casinos has already launched two ads that call on viewers to tell Bogdanoff and Fresen “to stop playing games” and call casinos ”the wrong answer for Florida.”
According to No Casinos, “the bill would hand casinos a 10 percent tax rate and a one-time license fee of up to $50 million, a figure that insiders say is embarrassingly low.”
The Bogdanoff/Fresen proposal has also earned the opposition of a South Florida pastor Mark Boykin, who called on Bogdanoff “to take the bill off the table,” saying, “In its place, let’s build a stronger Florida, that is family-oriented.”
“Rather than the Joan of Arc of conservative values she has become the Lady Godiva of high price gambling,” Boykin, the senior pastor of Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, said.