Florida is considering a bill right now that would allow people tired of being exposed to giant cartoon mice to instead blow their hard-earned cash on slot machines and table poker games carefully located within pleasant yet confusing environments. Starved for money and unable – or unwilling – to earn it from taxing it’s geriatric population into oblivion, Florida is looking to approve “destination casinos” similar to the ones in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, so that adults who have no desire to spend their money hand over fist in amusement parks can still come to Florida for fun and, possibly, profit.
It only makes sense. The primary audience for large casinos is old people, who spend endless hours chained to penny slots in polyester running suits, chain smoking out of fanny packs and spending their social security checks. Florida already has thousands of old people and more that visit every year. And if they’re willing to just give casinos money, why not approve more ways to take it from them? Florida is already home to horse tracks and (allegedly) thriving sports book operations, as well as an increasingly healthy adults-only vacation paradise. The state merely wants a cut.
But not if Disney has anything to say about it. The Mouse is lobbying to prevent the destination casinos, saying that having them would “ruin” the “family friendly” atmosphere in Central Florida. Not that it isn’t well within their rights to lobby against something that might cut into their profits, but it seems Disney is not being entirely forthcoming about their rationale for pouring money into the fight.
The Institute for Liberty, who is fighting to protect consumer choice in Florida, has records of Disney selling off the rights to its characters to make money off online gamers. Yep. It turns out Disney has been licensing Marvel characters for use in slot machines online, which is not only contrary to a “family friendly image,” it’s also a bit morally questionable, considering that these characters, in their cartoon iterations, appeal specifically to children and could encourage kids to take part in pastimes their parents wouldn’t particularly approve of, or would fit with the Disney brand image.
There’s also a question as to whether Disney is preserving it’s own right to have casinos. Bloggers have indicated that several of the Disney resorts are wired in a specific way so as to leave the possibility of slot machines and video gaming open. Disney is ready to take full advantage of gambling, family friendly image be damned, if and when Florida is open to approving gambling statewide.
When Big Business is allowed to influence Big Government, freedoms get curtailed. Even freedoms you probably didn’t know you had.