Trump Gonna Class Up Miami With Slot Machines KA-CHING!
How do you go broke running a magical machine that turns quarters into nickels? Dunno! Ask Donald Trump, whose casinos filed for bankruptcy multiple times. And according to the Washington Post, he's raring to do it again, transforming the tony Doral resort into a tacky slots palace. Thanks for the 29 electoral votes, Florida!
The Post's Jonathan O'Connell and Josh Dawsey report that there is "a quiet push among Florida Republicans to legalize casinos in areas of the state that have long opposed them." Read: places with attractions that bring in wealthy tourists, not just busloads of pensioners looking to attach themselves to a computerized syringe that will allow them to forget basic math for a few hours.
The "push" involves a bill that would prevent local governments from blocking the transfer of existing casino gambling permits from other areas of the state into their jurisdictions, i.e. Miami Beach and its wealthy environs, where Trump's club is located.
"My understanding is they are trying to take the gambling permits that are in South Florida and make them portable, and preempt local governments from stopping them," said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, a Democrat, told the Post. Gotta love that local control!
"Gambling is fundamentally incompatible with the City's residential neighborhoods, historic character, and vibrant economy. Moreover, gambling would impede the City's efforts to raise its profile as a cultural destination," reads the agenda for this evening's City Commission meeting, at which leaders will discuss taking immediate legal action to combat the move.
For his part, Eric Trump is thrilled at the prospect of allowing his family to replicate its amazing Atlantic City casino's success in South Florida.
"I think gambling is a good thing for Miami," Donald Trump told the Miami Herald in 2013, just after purchasing the golf resort. "Whether we have a casino or not doesn't matter to me. Even if I don't have a casino it would be good for Doral because it's going to bring an influx of people to Miami." In fact, Trump was so nonchalant about it that he hired a lobbyist to try to get the casino approved — part of an effort to get casino gambling at his Florida properties stretching back to the late '90s.
"Many people consider Trump Doral to be unmatched from a gaming perspective — at 700 acres, properties just don't exist of that size and quality in South Florida, let alone in the heart of Miami," Eric Trump told the Post, while refusing to say whether his family was involved in pushing the bill that would allow him to park the equivalent of a stinking hog farm in the middle of Miami Beach's manicured greens.
If this bill goes through, it will piss off a whole lot of rich Republicans.
"I think this would be bad for Florida and I think it would be terrible for Miami-Dade County," Armando Codina, a Republican real estate developer in the Doral area told the Post. "We've created a venue that is a family venue. If this was to happen in Doral, we would over time probably sell a bunch of our interests."
This is probably why no politician is willing to put their name on it yet, despite rumors that it has support in both houses of the legislature and in the governor's mansion.
Two people familiar with the proposal said it is being shepherded by Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican from Trilby, and could be introduced later this week or early next.
Katie Betta, a Simpson spokeswoman, said in a statement that "gaming negotiations are extremely complicated, and while Simpson believes the efforts are worthy, it is also important to be realistic about where we are."
Simpson "has been involved in these negotiations for years, and if they get to a place where he believes an agreement would benefit the State of Florida and have the support of his colleagues in the Legislature as well as the Governor, he would be happy to discuss further details," she said. She said the senator had not discussed gambling with Trump.
Spokespersons for DeSantis and Trump did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
In one corner, you've got the literal 800 lb gorilla (okay, slight exaggeration), who controls the Republican apparatus and may or may not hold Governor Ron DeSantis's fate in his tiny, orange hands. And in the other corner you've got the real money people, who've controlled the Sunshine state for decades and know how to get shit done behind closed doors. And, oh by the way, thanks to an alliance between Disney and the Seminole tribes which teamed up to back a constitutional amendment in 2018, any casino expansion will ultimately have to be approved by the voters in a ballot measure.
Gentlemen (loosely speaking), start your engines!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.