CBS4's Jim DeFede sits with president of No Casinos, John Sawinski discussing the latest Florida gambling agreement
LAUREN PASTRANA: "Now at 5:30," the Florida legislature will meet in a special session on Monday to discuss a new gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe that will not only allow them to add craps and roulette to their casinos, but also allow sports betting. In return, the Seminoles will give the state $2.5 billion over the next five years. But critics say the deal should go before voters. "Facing South Florida" host, Jim DeFede, spoke to one of the critics of the deal, John Sowinski, the president of No Casinos.
JIM DEFEDE: What's your impression of the deal that the governor has struck with the Seminole?
JOHN SOWINSKI: Well, it's a bad deal because it expands gambling throughout Florida, both on and off of tribal lands. One of the benefits of a compact between states and tribes is the opportunity to confine gambling to geographic-- specific geographic areas. And that's tribal lands.
This compact not only blows the lid on all of that by relying on this fantasy that if the betting occurs on a mobile device, but the file server is on tribal lands, that the gambling is taking place on tribal lands. This defies not only common sense, but federal law and the state constitution.
JIM DEFEDE: The argument in favor of this is that gambling is already pretty much here in the state of Florida. You have it in lots of different options, lots of different forms around the state already. And this is in-- this is a way of generating a lot of money for the state at a time when the state can use those dollars. I mean, the tribe is guaranteeing $2.5 billion minimum over the next five years. Doesn't that make it worth it?
JOHN SOWINSKI: No, there are a couple of things. One, Jim, any independent economic analysis-- and even the state's own regular revenue estimators-- have looked at the question of gambling revenues. And what they found is that money spent gambling, whether it be on a mobile device or in a casino, is money not spent somewhere else in the economy-- usually at a restaurant, or a bar, or a movie theater, or a tourist attraction, or whatever the case may be. And-- and so this is not new money into the economy. And it's not new money into state coffers.
LAUREN PASTRANA: There is much more of Jim's conversation with John Sowinski. Watch "Facing South Florida" Sunday morning at 11:30 right after "Face the Nation."