Here we go again.
Casino gambling in Florida is working its way back into the headlines.
Despite statewide referendums against its spread in our state, the pro-casino movement seems to turn every gained inch — such as a referendum favoring local option for casinos in Broward and Miami-Dade counties only — into a potential mile.
Add to that the ingrained jealousy about Indians' gaming rights and an economy hungry for jobs and tax revenues, and you can see why the casinos issue gains additional traction these days.
The community can argue the morality of gambling. We can dissect other states' experiences with drugs, prostitution and other crimes in the wake of casinos.
We continue to wonder about the wisdom of placing too much emphasis on casinos. We are wary of politicians' hopes for big payoffs.
We prefer the more stable, less boom-and-bust prospects of traditional variations of economic development with an accent on, for example, higher education and science and technology.
Thank goodness the new talk of casinos seems to lean toward home rule, letting each community or county define its own priorities.
We believe the issue comes down to balance. Just as would-be patrons balance their wishes to use the casinos with their ability to withstand potential losses, so too should our communities balance the desire for increased employment — and make no mistake, there are some good jobs in those operations — with diverting money that would have had a more direct impact on our economies. Plus, there is concern for the impact casinos would exert on our traditionally family-oriented tourist appeal.
There is so much legalized gambling already in play that the discussion moves from "Should we have it?'' to "How do we best manage it?''
It is important to have these discussions as gambling seems poised to take the place of the spread of residential/commercial development. Remember how urban sprawl kept pushing boundaries further and further into the wilderness? This is a new version.