Disney opposing casino plans for Florida

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

To bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Florida, casino operators like Sheldon Adelson are sending more than 100 lobbyists to the state Capitol to battle their biggest adversary: Mickey Mouse. The clash pits casino operators Genting Bhd. (GENT) and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), controlled by billionaire Adelson, against Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which runs theme parks and resorts near Orlando, and may face new competition for convention business. Companies on both sides of the dispute are sending lobbyists and campaign checks to Florida lawmakers.

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Jeff's avatar

I'm not entirely sure that this would dramatically impact Disney, especially if they're targeting Miami. I mean, it's like Disneyland in LA worrying about the casinos in Vegas, in my mind.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

rollergator's avatar

Companies on both sides of the dispute are sending lobbyists and campaign checks to Florida lawmakers.

A lobbyist WITHOUT a campaign check is basically just a concerned citizen...pfft!

Here I thought Florida already had casinos, which they do, as I've been past the Hard Rock in Tampa many times. Turns out its an Indian casino, of which the state has authorized only eight to operate, and they may not offer craps or roulette. It's the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, built on the Tampa reservation. (conveniently located just off I-4) Theres also a hotel there. Hmmmm.

Seems like the thing that Disney fears the most is already present, and if it was going to suck that much business away from them it would have already.

Maybe Disney should jump on the bandwagon, and build casino resorts themselves. Monorails to the parks for the families. "Hey, kids! Be sure to bring your grandparents!"

Raven-Phile's avatar

If Disney World needed a casino, it would already have one.

Jeff's avatar

The convention business is an interesting angle, but I'm surprised it's important to Disney. I thought their hotel occupancy was already pretty solid, and didn't need convention the way Vegas does.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Im overlapping here, (and over flapping) but our Disney trip next week is convention related. Jim will be there for the week with 5 or 6 hundred other attendees at an annual meeting. Ok, not the largest number they've hosted, I'm sure, but most are bringing their spouses if not their entire families. We got a pretty good rate at the Grand Floridian, but maybe it's Disney's way of assured bookings at an expensive property during what would be a slow period.

I don't know how many resorts there have convention or meeting facilities, but I bet it's an important part of their business. I know once we were considering a national convention for our dance group at Disney and were treated to a guided tour of Animal Kingdom with front-o-line access by the Disney Convention Sales department. One of their ideas for us was to bring our group into the park after it closed, set up a big tent to host a night-time dance and party with food and drinks, and give us access to the attractions in that area. (Asia) The gals were really great and loved their jobs. One of them told us her three market areas of concentration were Washington D.C., Religious/church groups, and Diversity groups. Now, there's a mixed bag, right? But thats what she had. I told her I hoped for her sake she never got those telephone calls confused...

Jeff's avatar

I guess I haven't looked very hard. I've noticed convention space at the Grand, Boardwalk and I think Contemp-meh-rary. Universal apparently does pretty well in that space. The Pea... er, Hyatt has enormous space, as does the convention center (duh) across the street.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Coronado springs was originally built almost entirely with convention business in mind. Between all of the "user group" style annual gatherings, there is a ton of convention business that doesn't need the Orange County convention center, and that's the business they're referencing. Anything that needs ballroom/meeting room/banquet space is what's targeted. Disney gets a lot of this, now.

However, build one or two huge "integrated resorts" (the new sanitized term for Casino-Resort), something along the lines of the Ventian or Mandalay Bay in Orlando, and that can absolutely pull business from the Disney resorts. It's the rooms/dining/evening money spent on property that Disney is afraid of losing. Every dollar that gets spent at a casino is one less that Disney can grab

Last edited by CreditWh0re,

as a follow-up, friends went to the "Pampered Chef" (Multi-level marketing thing) annual Jubilee/festival/convention. They did a private evening for several thousand at the Studios that had to cost almost $1MM, in admissions/food/etc (even at group rates). I know universal can and does set up similar evening events, in fact you can often see the set up at closing time in the off-season.

Jeff's avatar

Universal is big on those after-hours events, but it helps that the parks close so damn early in the off-season. If you've ever stayed at Royal Pacific, you would hear Hulk running way late after closing. I've only been to one of those events, way back in 2001 for IAAPA's social event that year.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

rollergator's avatar

Wonder if Disney has considered opening their own "Indian gaming" facility. I already have a name picked out for their tribe....borrowed somewhat from the Miccosukee Indians who already have gambling here in FL.



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