Credit: Las Vegas Sands Corp
This week it was revealed that Las Vegas Sands Corp plans to spend $17 million backing two Florida ballot initiatives in 2022 that would legalize gambling in parts of the state. Due to a combination of factors, including an existing state compact with the Seminole Tribe for casinos in south Florida, the language in the draft amendments, and the quirks of Florida geography, the statewide initiative would effectively only impact one locality: Jacksonville.
But does Jacksonville want legalized gambling? What impact will it have on our community? What are the tradeoffs, not just for Jacksonville, but for any city? The answer, as is often the case, depends on how effectively it is managed.
In 2009, lawmakers in Illinois legalized video gambling with the promise that it would generate billions of dollars in revenue for the state. A decade later that revenue has yet to materialize even as profits soar for the companies that own and operate the video gambling machines. We can file this under poor management.
Meanwhile, states like Louisiana are perfectly satisfied with the boost to revenue and tourism that its riverboat casinos provide. Academic research gets closest to the truth on the matter: legalizing gambling doesn’t make much of an impact at all:
“Introduction of a casino appears to produce a few modestly positive effects, a few modestly negative impacts, and, in several areas, no statistically significant effects at all.”
That’s because the question of whether to legalize gambling is a fait accompli–it’s already legal. 3 in 4 adults report gambling at least once in the past year, and only 12% of people say they’ve never gambled. Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry already announced his support. The real questions arise when we see a plan to actually build a casino, like is this development right for Jacksonville? Does it fit with our vision of the city’s future? Do they need a local partner with strong community ties and unparalleled expertise to manufacture and install their signs?
Credit: Foster + Partners
This residential development One Beverly Hills, designed by Foster + Partners and Gensler, looks like a solarpunk drawing come to life. More of this, please.
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