Ministers Speak Out Against Gaming in South Florida

They say plans to erect a mega-resort and casino on the edge of Miami’s Biscayne Bay would have negative effects on the area

The Reverend Gary Johnson and Reverend Marvin Lue are dead set against a Florida Legislative proposal which would bring thousands of jobs to South Florida.

They say the plans by the Genting Group to erect a mega-resort and casino on the edge of Miami’s Biscayne Bay would tear families apart and destroy much of what has been accomplished in making Miami a world class tourist destination.

A group of ministers gathered on the lawn in front of The Miami Herald offices in downtown Miami to explain their concerns about Senate Bill 710, which would allow three resorts in the South Florida region. The Asia-based Genting group has already purchased the Herald building for their project.

Nathaniel Wilcox warned that the African-American community is always promised jobs, but is always disappointed. He claimed that jobs for the Marlins Stadium never came through and blacks were descriminated against at a Marlins jobs fair because many did not speak Spanish.

 “Every time the black community takes a gamble, we loose,” said Wilcox. “We are always promised jobs, did that happen? No!”

But it was Reverend Lue who laid out the dilemma for the preachers who pitch family values, the moral high ground on the gambling issue. 

“It is a hard sell when you have been unemployed two to three months, maybe a year and there is a possibility that you could get a job. But that job may be a cost to your family because of what it represents, ” Lue said.

Miami’s jobless rate hovers around 11.5 percent, much higher in minority communities That does not dissuade Reverend Gary Johnson, who cuts the casino advocates no slack.

“Shut down the lotto, shut down the racinos, shut down casinos, period,” said Johnson.

The ministers say there is a better way to create jobs but offered no specifics. The said that members of their congregations would be faced with a moral issue if gaming jobs with decent salaries and benefits become a reality. 

“It won’t be easy,” says Reverend Leu.

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