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South Florida's Unemployed Back Casino Expansion In Florida

South Florida is already one of the top tourist destinations in the US. The area has the beaches of Fort Lauderdale and Miami, popular sports and entertainment forms, and a plethora of celebrities walking the streets of South Beach. Although the area is rich in tradition, it is poor in employment opportunities.

Tens of thousands of people are currently unemployed in South Florida, and many are hoping that lawmakers cane help them find jobs in the near future. The most popular idea circulating through the Florida Legislature these days is legalizing Vegas-style casino resorts.

The resorts would mirror the gaming facilities in Las Vegas that have been a driving force behind the economic climate of Nevada for decades. Dozens of states are turning to casino resorts to help revive their economy after the 2008 recession, but few of these states have the existing tourism industry of Florida. The combination of new casinos with the existing entertainment options has some analysts believing Florida is poised to become a king in the gaming industry.

"Florida is unique from any other state because of their location in the country and all of the amenities they have to offer travelers," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "If lawmakers approve of destination casinos in Florida, there is little doubt in my mind that they would become an instant challenger to Las Vegas."

That sentiment is shared by many, including Las Vegas-based gaming companies. Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have spent millions of dollars lobbying Florida lawmakers to add casino resorts. The two companies are positioned, along with Genting Malaysia, to gain licenses should the casino resorts become a reality.

Genting was so confident in the passing of the resorts bill that they purchased the home of the Miami Herald. Genting has shown the blueprint for Resorts World Miami, which would have space on the second floor for a casino. Genting has joined LVS and Wynn in their lobbying efforts, and all three companies are hoping legislation is completed early next year.

Proponents of the expanded gambling claim that Florida could double their current gaming revenue if casino resorts are added. Opponents, however, contend that bringing new resorts to the Sunshine State could hurt existing tourist destinations such as Disney World. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has also rejected the idea of new casino resorts.

The unemployment rate in Florida currently sits at 10.3%, leading dozens of lawmakers to embrace the casino expansion. Contractors, builders, and gaming professionals have all endorsed the plan for additional gaming in South Florida.

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