Editorial: Don't turn Poarch Creek racetrack into a full casino

A poker tournament at the Gretna Racing facility in Gretna, Florida. Photo from Facebook

Florida newspaper calls on lawmakers to take action to prevent the Poarch Band of Creek Indians from adding slot machines to its commercial racetrack in Gadsden County:
Gadsden County used to have a thriving local industry in shade tobacco, which was a business to be proud of — if you didn’t mind the lung cancer, heart failure and other diseases it caused its customers.

Casinos won’t kill you, although they offer ample opportunity to hurt yourself. But, as with tobacco, there are limits to how much the government should do to protect us from our follies.

Right now, the local governments of our neighboring county and tiny Gretna are betting heavily on what looks like a legal long shot. There’s a comparatively modest card room and horse-racing operation off Exit 174 on I-10, with plenty of land around it for a hotel and casino resort complex.

If the state permits slot machines there, the $20 million already anted up by the Poarch Creek Tribe and its investors would rise more than ten-fold and transform the economy of Florida’s only majority-black county.

The project got a small boost last week when a panel of the First District Court of Appeal ruled that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation should issue a permit for the operation. Gadsden voters approved gambling by a 63 percent majority in a 2012 referendum.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Gretna shouldn’t bet its future on a casino (The Tallahassee Democrat 6/2)

Florida 1st District Court of Appeal Decision:
Gretna Racing v. Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering (May 29, 2015)

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