Tag Archives: Casinos

Miami Beach goes on record against casinos

The Miami Beach City Commission took a formal position against any expansion of casino gambling on Wednesday, and pledged to lobby against legislative changes in Tallahassee.

The discussion and vote came after a protest promoted in part by Belle Isle Residents Association leaders.

The commission resolution said gambling brings “severe and painful economic and social costs,” “promotes corruption of the governmental process,” and would “exacerbate traffic,” The Miami Herald reported.


Belle Isle Residents Association opposes casino destination bill

The board of directors of the Belle Isle Residents Association has taken a formal position against expanded gaming in Miami-Dade County, according to association President Scott Diffenderfer.

“The vast majority of our board feels that the negative effects of gambling in our community, including the social implications, potential crime and damage to our reputation as a cultural destination, will far outweigh any increase in tax revenue that casinos may bring,” Diffenderfer said in a letter to residents.

” At this point we neither oppose nor endorse any specific proposal for a destination resort, but we strongly believe that our local leaders and the state legislature should oppose the Destination Casino bill pending in Tallahassee.”

The announcement comes as several community meetings are planned with the Miami Beach City Commission and Chamber of Commerce on the topic.

Miami Beach sets new times for casino discussions; Commission vote expected Dec. 14

With interest growing in the push for casinos in South Florida, the city of Miami Beach now plans to discuss the potential impact and the city’s position at its Wednesday, Dec. 14 meeting. The conversation is supposed to start some time after 5 p.m.

Leading up to that meeting, there are several forums focused on the position Miami Beach takes on casinos.

— Mayor Matti Bower has scheduled a forum with residents at the Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr., on Wednesday, Dec. 7  at 6:30 p.m.

— The Miami Beach City Commission has a workshop scheduled on the matter at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9.

— The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce has a forum on gambling planned for Tuesday, Dec. 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., in Hall D.

If you want to attend, you need to RSVP.

Opponents have scheduled a little protest, Belle Isle Residents Association board member Herb Frank tells us, that will start at 5 p.m. outside the convention center.

The feverish discussion takes place as a result of a proposal from Malaysia-based Genting Group to build a $3 billion-plus resort and casino on the site of The Miami Herald and the nearby Omni Center at the west end of the Venetian Causeway.

Genting bought The Herald building and property in May. Other groups also are pushing casino plans for South Florida, from an idea floated by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn for a gaming mecca at the Miami Beach Convention Center to proposals for downtown Miami, Sunny Isles Beach and at Miami Dolphins Stadium.

Have an opinion on casinos? Some ways to express yourself

How would traffic be managed if mega-casinos are built? What will be the impact on the Venetian Causeway, South Beach, downtown Miami?

Is this a good deal with good jobs? Should the city of Miami Beach back the effort or fight it?

As the casino discussion continues, there are two nearby opportunities to learn more and speak your piece (thanks to Belle Isle Residents Association board member Herb Frank):

— On Dec. 9 at 4 p.m., the Miami Beach City Commission has scheduled a workshop to develop its position and in advance of the Florida Legislature’s 2012 session, which starts in January.

— On Dec. 13 at 5:30 p.m., the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on gaming at the Miami Beach Convention Center in hall D.

Gambling talk worries residents’ groups along Venetian Causeway

The undercurrent of almost every conversation on the Venetian Causeway corridor — from discussions about the proposed West Avenue bridge to Venetian roadway construction — is gambling.

No mater your opinion on the benefits or hazards of gambling, the scale and promimity of the proposed casino projects surely will have major impact on Belle Isle and other causeway islands, as  well as downtown Miami and Miami Beach.

The mammoth casino proposed for the property Genting purchased from The Miami Herald would be the largest in the world. Vegas casino owner Steve Wynn has touted the site of the Miami Beach Convention Center as the best location in South Florida as he shops for a competing mega-casino spot.

The Belle Isle Residents Association and other island homeowner groups have had one meeting with representatives from Genting to discuss the potential impact, and expect to have another soon.

Venetian Island Homeowner Association president Greg Carney gave this report in a note to residents last week:

“The presidents of the close-by HOAs have met with representatives of the Genting group and continue to communicate with them.  We have a number of concerns including increased traffic on the Causeway (and the issues this causes), impact on security, and impact on quality of life and property values in our neighborhoods.

“While Genting has expressed their desire to be good neighbors and their interest in being a net improvement, they have not as yet put forward anything of substance that make the presidents feel comfortable.”

Meanwhile, Herb Frank, a Belle Isle Residents Association board member, points out a website from a group called Common Sense Miami, founded by University of Miami professor Greg Bush.

Carney recommends that residents follow the issue closely, and make their opinions known.

“I am afraid I cannot give you much reassurance on this issue at this point,” Carney wrote.  “We continue to pursue this and hope to have representatives of Genting to a general membership meeting so they can present you all with their plans.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact your state, county and city officials with your concerns.”