FSU Forum: "Casino Gambling, What Are The Issues?"

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Should Florida continue to build on its popular casino and gaming industry? That was the question posed for two professionals on both sides of the isle.

They battled it out at a forum on Florida State's campus.

"We're currently the fourth largest state in the nation when it comes to gaming, we have one of the largest casinos in the world operating right outside of Tampa," said Brewster Bevis, senior vice president with Associated Industries of Florida.

"We think that just the evidence is fairly overwhelming that for the government to get into the sponsoring casino business is not a good idea," David Blakenhorn, the president of Institute for American Values.

Bevis says casinos help build the economy and put food on the dinner table. Whereas, Blankenhorn says a new study shows casinos have no positive economic impact on the state.

"Do they produce economic growth, do they create jobs, are they helpful members of the community and the existing evidence suggests no," Blankenhorn said.

"I believe that these are going to be good for the state of Florida, I believe these are going to be good for people that need jobs down where these facilities will be located," Bevis said.

State Rep. Halsey Beshears is from Monticello - home of the Jefferson County Kennel Club.

"For years it brought people in from all over south Georgia and Florida to Jefferson," Beshears said.

He believes this will be a big year for the legislature in deciding what to do with Florida's growing gaming industry.

"I'm glad their finally going to address it win, lose or draw."

The public forum was held by the Center for Humanities and Society at Florida State.

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