How is Disney preventing casinos near Disney World Florida?

Disney is all about family fun. It’s little wonder that they would take active steps to prevent gambling and adult entertainment happening in close proximity to their child friendly venues. Sorry to be the voice of cynicism and reality but Disney is not just about magic. It’s about money. In this instance we’re talking about a huge revenue share of tourism and entertainment in Florida. And of course, wherever big bucks are being made, shareholders and stakeholders want to protect their interests. 

Voter Control of Gambling in Florida

In Florida, Disney has teamed up to support an anti-casino initiative. The bill is referred to as Amendment 3 or “Voter Control of Gambling in Florida.” The bill only permits new casinos to open on the provision that 60% of the entire state of Florida votes in agreement. The idea is to give residents greater control over new gambling entertainment venues and facilities being open in the state. However, some critics argue that actually this does not give more power to voters. Instead, it is purely a protectionist move by big business to prevent new competition entering the market. This would allow the Seminole group of casinos to remain dominant in the state. Of course the amendment can not prevent the spread of online casino gaming. Casinos Jungle and other online information sites guide gamblers to where they can play on their mobile phones.

What are the stakes?

Nearly $37million US dollars have been spent on the bill with over 90% coming from Disney and the Seminole Tribes. Perhaps it is obvious what the Seminole Tribe casino owners have to gain from the bill. What does Disney stand to gain? Consider this.  DisneyWorld Florida is made up of 4 huge theme parks. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneys’ Animal Kingdom. They also have water parks Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Perhaps more key to this protectionist policy is they own 24 hotels, 5 golf courses plus spas, shopping and restaurants.  Any new Vegas style casino resorts would directly threaten Disney revenues.  Whilst you may think the Disney studios, movies and TV shows generate a lot of revenue; the real money is in the theme parks. On admission revenue alone Disney globally generated more that 7 billion USD in 2018. 

Incidentally, it is estimated that due to covid, Disney is losing over 16million per day being closed. This is due not only to admission ticket sales, but all the extras – hotel bookings, concession stands, merchandise.

Who are the opponents?

MGM Resorts International is in opposition to the bill. MGM Resorts is a massive enterprise with casino resorts all over the USA. Notably in Las Vegas they own The Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mirage, Aria, New York New York and Luxor. It’s easy to understand why another major player in the casino hotel business would oppose restrictions on increasing its share of the market.

The Seminole Tribe who are backing the bill have the controlling share of casinos in the state. You can play casino at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa and Hollywood, plus Coconut Creek Casino, Immokalee and Brighton host gambling venues. Reportedly they make $2.5billion every year in gaming revenue. So again, extremely strong incentive to prevent new casinos muscling in on the action! By the way, this article represents merely our opinions of the situation!

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