Commission says no to casinos on Miami’s famous South Beach

  • Miami Beach commissioners move to ban gambling in the area
  • Florida State legislature fails to agree over additional gambling licenses

Miami’s glamorous South Beach is set to become a no-go area for casinos after officials at Miami Beach City Hall announced plans to fast-track a ban on gambling establishments.

Miami South Beach casino
Sun, sea and… no casinos. Certainly not for the foreseeable future in Miami’s South Beach

The announcement follows the breakdown of talks in the state legislature over the granting of another casino license in South Florida. Although the effort to expand gambling in the region before the end of this year’s legislative session failed, the fact that it was even being considered appears to have spurred Beach officials into taking additional action.

City staff had already drafted a pair of ordinances that would ban all gaming establishments and at a short notice meeting on Wednesday, the City commission voted unanimously to fast-track the process of approval. The citizen planning board is expected to meet on May 11 to make recommendations on the ordinances, and a commission vote to enact the recommendations could take place as early as the following afternoon.

Impact study

All six commissioners have voiced their opposition to the expansion of gambling in Miami Beach and Miami-Dade as a whole, and they were supported by a number of local residents, including art collector and auto magnate Norman Braman, who said that the arrival of gambling would threaten Miami Beach’s status as host of the Art Basel art fair.

But others spoke out against the ban, including local businesses such as the Fontainebleau Hotel, which has stated an interest in gaining a gaming license. A spokesperson for the hotel pointed out that Miami Beach could suffer economically if a casino were to open up elsewhere in Miami Dade, and he urged the commissioners to carry out a thorough economic impact assessment before ruling out the possibility of a gambling expansion in the area.

OUR VERDICT

A swift and assured action from Miami Beach commissioners that has, for the time being, shut down hopes of casinos in the famous seaside location. It appears the opposition to the granting of operating licenses was fierce but, with the speed in which this was brought though, could things have been overlooked? A knee-jerk reaction is never the best; as many proponents of the legislation have argued, there are certainly economic benefits to opening casinos, as well as other positives like employment opportunities. More will follow on this, but at the moment at least, it looks as though there will be no casinos on Miami beach.

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