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What’s Mickey Mouse Got to do with Gambling?

You know those old Disney cartoons of Mickey Mouse the farmer rushing with his rake and hoe to defend his land against whatever evil forces await him (tornadoes, floods, Goofy)?  Well, that’s the image that popped into my head when I read this week that Walt Disney World in Florida objects to the expansion of gambling in the state and is doing everything it can to fight plans to build three new casinos  in South Florida.  The state government is desperate to generate revenue for state coffers and is mulling the idea of passing legislation to allow the building of these mega casino resorts.  However, Disney is the uber power of Florida’s entertainment world and it seems the group isn’t interested in seeing part of their market taken away.

If you think of it logically, the chances are that Disney World’s prime target of visitors (read: kids) aren’t going to be rushing off to play blackjack instead of riding the rollercoaster. But I think if three massive entertainment resorts were being planned in my own back yard, I’d start flexing my muscles as well.

Disney employs something like 60,000 people in the area and contributes hundreds of millions to state tax every year.  They are also big contributors to political causes – all which means that the group’s power shouldn’t be underestimated.

I think, however, that Disney and the planned casinos could work side by side and actually complement each other rather well.  The casinos could attract a different kind of visitor who may have not considered Florida as a destination since they weren’t traveling with kids, but would then visit the parks anyway since they were already in the area.

In the meantime, I’d love to see online software companies develop slot games based on Disney characters.  That would show true cooperation between these two worlds.  It might not happen in my lifetime, since Disney is always spouting its family-friendly image and is the only company running cruise ships in the Florida area that doesn’t offer gambling services, but hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

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