Dan Gelber: Gaming Commission is “Just The Lipstick On A Pig”

Son picks up where father left off in Florida casino fight

In 1994, the man credited with saving Miami Beach and South Pointe from becoming "Vegas on the Beach" was Mayor Seymour Gelber.

The bowtied former judge and federal prosecutor gummed up a highly financed political campaign called Limited Casinos, which would have brought major casinos to a number parimutuel sites throughout Florida. Voters turned the proposal down 60-40.

That was then and this is now.

Las Vegas casino operator Steve Wynn is back in town as he was in 1994, expressing interest in Miami Beach. The Genting group wants to build a mega destination resort on The Miami Herald site. This time there is no vote of the people. A Senate bill would authorize three mega resorts and casinos and create a gaming commission.

"The gaming commission is just the lipstick on a pig," said Dan Gelber.

Gelber is picking up where his dad left off. Gelber, a former State Senator and federal prosecutor, carries a lot of his father's fire on the issue. 

"They, the Legislature, can do the gaming commission to control the gaming we have without expanding gambling in a massive way.," said the younger Gelber.

Gelber is serving as the local chair of the No Casinos organization that is funded a number of trade associations and Disney. 

Senate bill 710 includes the provisions for gaming control which would bring the lotto, the parimutuel, and the racinos under one regulatory agency.  It is a idea that is a long time coming in Florida.

The "lipstick on the pig" could work if the gaming expansion portion of the bill is backed way off according to Gelber.  "If they want to control gaming let 'em do a commission without making South Florida Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined."

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