Miami Cruise Line magnate and billionaire Micky Arison has made recent public statements, and Twitter remarks regarding his opposition to proposed resort casinos in downtown Miami. His argument is based mainly on the fact that there are currently not enough parking spaces or infrastructure in downtown Miami to support all of the resort visitors and their cars. His complaint is that these additional visitors to Miami would be an insurmountable obstacle to running a successful business.
Arison’s arguments are so ridiculous that any reasonable person has to question what his real motives are. Since his Carnival Cruise lines operates casinos and since Arison once owned a River Boat casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we know that a moral objection to gaming is certainly not his problem. Arison received huge taxpayer financed subsidies to build the American Airlines Arena. Genting, who proposes to build a world-class casino downtown, is asking for none. If anything, Genting should be recognized and appreciated for already making a hard-money investment of a half billion dollars in the rejuvenation of downtown Miami.
Micky’s self-serving views are contrary to most economic models that suggest that more customers are better than fewer customers and that more customers usually lead to a better chance of business sustainability and profitability. Parking and infrastructure can be built. Maybe Mickey should have stayed in school, at least through microeconomics.
His squabbles sound more like jealousy by a competitor, than anything that resembles a “real” problem that cannot be solved. Micky’s right though - downtown Miami doesn’t have enough parking garages. That’s because Micky wasn’t willing to spend the money to build them during the American Airlines development. He knew thousands of cars would be coming to downtown but he didn’t want to spend the money. Garages, whether underground or above are expensive to build.
The Downtown casino plan would link the American Airlines stadium with Bicentennial and Bay front Parks, the museum and the rest of the Miami bay front along a bay-walk ending at the Performing Arts Center and casino. The residents will finally be able to utilize all of these multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded downtown projects through an easily navigable waterfront walkway.
The tourists that a downtown Miami casino would bring to the Heat stadium and Performing Arts Center would surely fill the seats. It is ridiculous to think that these centers would have fewer patrons if a resort would link them all together. That is not a plausible argument and should warrant further scrutiny into the true motive of Micky Arison and his statements.
Any traffic issues or roadway deficiencies can be rectified thru the use of mass transit. Genting, the Resorts World Miami developer, is also re-building the 395 interchange and surrounding roadways. Whatever traffic issues materialize will surely be dealt with. Micky doesn't seem to care about all of the congestion that is caused by the thousands of weekly visitors who transverse downtown Miami as they travel to the port of Miami to take a Carnival cruise vacation. His statements are hypocritical. He may be the single largest traffic generator in all of Miami, through ownership of the Miami Heat and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Arison also contends that a casino will bring added crime to the area. Funny; that wasn’t his position when his Carnival Resorts and Casinos opened a River Boat casino in Louisiana or when his company operated the largest Indian Casino in Canada.
The best antidote to crime is more plentiful jobs. A casino will also bring added revenues to the city, which can then afford to add additional police and surveillance equipment to make Miami one of the safest urban centers in America. Downtown Miami is currently ridden with crime. The County and City of Miami have no money to add police officers, in fact they are laying off law enforcement for an area with increasing crime levels. A casino might be the only hope of resuscitating downtown Miami and filling the many vacant condos that are continuing to impede housing price stabilization.
Micky Arison does not represent the people of Miami. He represents the 1% who control all of the wealth in this country and who manipulate the system for their greedy pursuits. The Occupy movement was created to protest market manipulators like Micky Arison and his family of business partners. Maybe Occupy Miami activists should soon descend on the Carnival Cruise line headquarters to protest Arison’s job-blocking strategies - or better yet, perhaps they should camp on Micky’s lawn!
Why doesn’t Micky just tell the truth - this is all about money!
Carnival Cruise Lines is the lowest-end cruise operator in the industry. They seem to specialize in short-duration gambling cruises for people who want to go to a casino and also visit South Florida and the Caribbean. Carnival does not want the competition that a World Class destination casino would bring to Miami.
Genting also happens to own Norwegian Cruise lines, which is known for a much more upscale cruising experience than Carnival's Las Vegas themed discos and glitzy casinos. Micky must be green with envy that his competitor could be getting a downtown Miami casino just blocks from his own gambling empire.
Mr. Arison was quoted as saying, “we’re on a roll and I’m not sure this is the right way to continue it.” Who’s on a roll? Mickey and his super-rich buddies? It would be tough for Micky Arison to know what the average citizen is going through. He is one of the wealthiest men in the country. When you’re worth $4.2 billion you don’t have to worry about where your next mortgage payment is coming from.
The only roll Miami is on is downhill and heading off a cliff. The Genting casino proposal is the only large-scale job producer that is on the horizon to add jobs and revenues to Miami and the rest of the state of Florida. Two more World-class casinos will create even more jobs and more Government revenues. Florida voters should be aware of the motivations of these local billionaires like Micky Arison and Norman Braman who portray themselves as protecting the public but who have no interest in the welfare of ordinary citizens who might need a casino job to pay their mortgage or survive in a wrecked economy. Call Carnival or any Braman car dealership. They aren’t hiring.
Greedy local businessmen could ruin the chance Miami has of making it the most attractive and profitable resort city in the County and probably the World. Research reports are indicating that each South Florida Casinos could generate over $3 billion per year and a total of 125,000 jobs. We don’t have the economic luxury of ignoring this opportunity. It’s time to bring responsible casino gambling to Florida.
It’s also time for loud mouth, self-serving billionaires, like Micky Arison and Norman Braman to shut up!