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Slots on the Ballet Again in Miami-Dade County

With the approval of the Miami-Dade County commission for a slots question on the January 29th, 2008 ballot on whether or not to allow Las Vegas style slot machines at the three pari-mutuel facilities in the county, both supporters and critics are beginning to stage activities to promote their cause.

On August 9th, 2007, the spokesperson for the Yes for Greater Miami-Dade campaign Jose Fuentes, which is in favor of the slot machines said that they are currently planning their campaign to promote their cause and begin studying on how many jobs the slot machines will produce.

Fuentes' group will be representing the Flagler Dog Track and Sports Entertainment Center, the Calder Race Course and Miami Jai-Alai. The three pari-mutuels will directly benefit if the slots vote pass. If the slots issue is approved by the voters, it will be allowed to be offered in pari-mutuel facilities.

A percentage of the profits will be allocated for education in Miami Dade and other counties in Florida. Backers feel that the voters in Miami-Dade are now open to the possibility of the slot machines after rejecting it in 2005 while the voters of Broward County supported the idea.

The Vice president of Flagler Dog Track Izzy Havenick commented that he is hoping that the voters in Miami Dade will realize that nothing bad happened in Broward County because of the slot machines.

Meanwhile, the Christian Family Coalition which has 5,000 members led by Executive Director Anthony Verdugo said that they will publicly oppose the slot machines.

The director of missions at the Miami Baptist Association Gary Johnson commented that his organization is not planning any action against the slot machines but he thinks that most of their members will oppose the slot machines.

Havenick said that their slots campaign will be like in 2005 and they will utilize both the print and broadcast media. Some of the benefits of the slot machines are additional profits to the county, additional employment opportunities, funding for other services and money for tourism and education.

The president and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau William Talbert III commented that the bureau has not decided on their position yet but he said that anything so long as it is for the good of Miami-Dade they will approve it.

Critics say that the slot machines will only increase the crime rate on the community. Havenick said that it is not true because if any gaming activity is evil, then the state lottery should not also be allowed.


Sunday, 14 October 2007
Kori Woffendin