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Disney World and Las Vegas Sands’ Battle Heats Up

Florida is famous for its family-oriented theme park Disney World Resort. The theme park is reported to have amassed over 31% of Disney Company’s total revenue in 2013; but a threat to Disney World Resort is looming in the horizon.

Disney’s Stance

The state of Florida has been considering opening up to casino companies that are bent on establishing gaming resorts in the state. It is a fact the establishment of casinos in Florida is regulated but pro-gaming lawmakers have passed a legislation to permit casino expansion in the state. Disney is lobbying incumbent Florida lawmakers against this move and it is making its stand known to voters hoping to influence their opinion.

Andrea Finger, Disney’s spokesperson, stated in February this year that legalizing the establishment of mega casinos in Florida and the subsequent expansion of gambling, will have a negative effect on Florida’s taxpayers in general and on existing businesses and tourism brands in particular. Disney wishes to preserve the family-oriented theme park tourism model Florida is famous for. As of 2012, anti-gambling groups have been campaigning against casino expansion in the sunshine state.

Las Vegas Sands Take

Las Vegas Sands, as led by its CEO Sheldon Adelson, is pushing for the quick operations of casino resorts in Florida. In 2012, Las Vegas Sands (and Wynn Resorts) failed in their attempt to bring major casino resorts to Florida. In connection, a political action committee was formed to place this issue on the 2014 ballot.

Current Florida laws allow for the establishment and operation of eight Las Vegas-style Native American casinos and about 31 betting facilities for horse race and dog race betting. Adelson, as well as pro-gambling advocates believe that casino expansion in Florida will afford not only casino gaming but also the non-gaming amenities and entertainment offered by casino resorts.  In the event that casino resorts “happen” in Florida, thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions USD in revenue are possibilities.

 Disney VS Las Vegas Sands

Disney World in Florida hosted close to 19 million visitors in 2013 and Las Vegas Sands wants to break-in on this profitable market. Though these two entities cater to different markets- Las Vegas Sands for adult gamers and Disney for families, a fully integrated Las Vegas Sands casino resort will not only offer gambling facilities for adults but entertaining and fun non-gaming facilities for families too. Though the Disney brand is well-established in Florida, it generally relies on family vacations for guests and revenue. If Las Vegas Sands (and all other casino brands) are allowed to build casino resorts in Florida, then a large part of Disney’s revenue could very well end up on the lap of Las Vegas Sands and all other casino resort brands.

Who Will Win?

The coming November 4, 2014 election has a great impact on this issue as Florida’s voters await the viewpoint of gubernatorial candidates. In turn, the stance of each candidate could very well affect their positions at the poll.

Though the voting for and against casino resorts in Florida is not clearly under way, the question stands: “Who will win the gaming battle in Florida?”

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