Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8: Better the Seminoles Now Than.....

By Sylvia Gurinsky

It's not realistic to think that Florida not reaching an agreement with the Seminole Tribe over gambling funds will make gambling go away.

If anything, the situation will get worse if the state doesn't reach an agreement with the Seminoles.

Interests from the gaming industry are waiting with plenty of campaign money for state lawmakers willing to play roulette with Florida's future. They'll make those bogus claims that it's good for schools. They'll ignore the fact that Florida still doesn't have a system to treat addicts and educate the public about the dangers of compulsive gambling.

Miami Beach could become the gambling mecca it threatened to become in 1978, until Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, about to leave office, stood up against gambling in the state - which led to its defeat at the polls then. Now, moguls are probably ready to stick a casino into the Fontainebleau, which certainly doesn't need one.

The Florida Legislature is currently talking with the tribe. They should hammer out a deal that includes money for addiction treatment, education and prevention.

One of the things that should be prevented is further gambling polluting the state. Better the Seminole agreement now than casinos dotting Florida's beautiful beaches later.

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