Disney Under Fire In Florida For Gambling Policies
The issue of gambling is one of the more contentious issues for all governments. The U.S. has been in the headlines in the last year and a half as it is in the process of formulating a new gambling policy that already involves three states that have legalized internet gambling. The remaining states are still up for grabs with both legislators, casino operators and anti-gambling voices all trying to win the moral debate.
Whichever side comes up trumps, the bottom line like anything else revolves around money. With gambling in the U.S. this is particularly clear as online gambling is seen as a threat to may existing state casino licence holders who also include the native American tribes who certainly do not want the online competition. An article in the New York Times raises the debate of gambling in the state of Florida as well as the seemingly vested interests that various parties try to hide or deny.
Traditional gambling conjures up smoke filled rooms where heavy gamblers spend fortunes on poker, blackjack or roulette. This perception is however far from the reality of modern day gambling. In fact anyone playing online gambling is hard pressed to find big differences between high end video games and slot machines.
In fact many land casinos feature slot based machine games that are inspired by blockbusters like Avatar or television hit series like Pawn Stars. Another major theme in slots and scratch cards are that of comic based games. As a major player there is no larger comic maker than Marvel who were acquired by no less then Disney in 2009 for $4 billion. As we mentioned slots and even lotteries are utilizing these Marvel comic characters in many of their most popular games and critics are asking the question if the merging of superheroes and gambling is an acceptable situation for a family orientated company like Disney.
The debate of expanding gambling in Florida has raised this question as supporters of expanding gambling point out the apparent hypocrisy of giant companies like Disney who are against expanding gambling in Florida based on the reasoning that it would affect the state’s reputation for being a family location.
To counter the criticism regarding the use of Marvel comic characters in many slots and lottery games, Disney claim that they are planning to end their connection to slot games as soon as the various licencing agreements expire over the next few years. Supporters of gambling expansion like COO of the Las Vegas Sands, Michael A. Leven believe Disney is less than honest in their intentions,” Disney’s internecine warfare against integrated resorts in Florida under this pretense demeans them significantly.”
A Walt Disney Spokeswoman Andrea Finger hit back by saying,” We oppose the legalization of so-called destination resort casinos because this major expansion of gambling is inconsistent with Florida’s reputation as a family-friendly destination.”
Added to this you have the Seminole Tribe whose license expires in 2015 and needless to say are strong opponents to anyone being allowed to compete with them.
The Florida gambling debate is worth following as it is bound to be identical in other U.S. states. Whichever side you choose to believe you would have to be pretty dumb to believe that entertainment conglomerates like Disney will be able to keep their company profile clear of any gambling interests.
With more and more states left to formulate their individual gambling polices there is bound to be endless jockeying between interested parties who realize that billions are at stake. As an outsider it seems that a nationwide gambling policy formulated and regulated by the Federal government would benefit the consumer best.