FRLA President & CEO Carol Dover: Gaming Impact Study Lacks Attention to the Casino Cannibalization

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Ray

FRLA Press Secretary
850.224.2250 x255

(Tallahassee, FL) – Today the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association President and CEO Carol Dover released the following statement regarding Part 1 of the Gaming Impact Study and its lack of attention to the casino cannibalization issue.

“We commend the Florida Legislature’s comprehensive approach to assessing the current lay of the land and future alternatives with regard to gambling in Florida.   We are also glad that the House and Senate select committees on this subject are undertaking a thorough analysis of what we have today and various policy alternatives.

“We have read with interest the first report issued by Spectrum Gaming.  While this report has a lot of good information, we would like for it to have gone farther in its analysis of the cannibalization effect of gambling – particularly as it relates to restaurants and lodging establishments.  Just eight of the 320 pages in the report were devoted to the subject of cannibalization, and much of that analysis was related to how casinos might harm existing gambling operations.

“While Atlantic City was mentioned, the staggering Atlantic City statistics were not.  Policymakers and the public should know that 40% of restaurants and a third of retail establishments going out of business in the wake of casinos opening there.  They should know that crime skyrocketed and the population actually shrank.

“We take exception to the report’s characterization of cannibalization, or the “substitution effect” as “…essentially synonymous with market competition.”  The practice of providing free or heavily subsidized room nights and meals – a standard practice in the casino industry – is not competition.  It is a predatory business practice that would hurt Florida businesses – particularly those that are a part of our hospitality industry.

“We strongly urge that the issue of casino cannibalization along with the dismal economic numbers associated with Atlantic City be legitimately and factually addressed in Part 2 of the Gaming Impact Study due in October 2013.

“We appreciate the ongoing work of the legislature on this issue, particularly legislative leaders and those who chair and serve on the House and Senate Gaming Committees.”

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA’s mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s hospitality industry – which represents a $71.8 billion industry, 23% of Florida’s economy, $4.3 billion in sales tax revenue, and over one million employees, making it Florida’s largest employer. It is Florida’s premier non-profit, hospitality industry trade association. FRLA safeguards the needs of the hospitality industry, improves the business climate, promotes the highest levels of quality and safety for our patrons, provides legislative advocacy, and eases navigation of government regulation. The Association represents and serves more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to