The only way in which this decision, taken by the City of Doral Council, might change is by means of a referendum, which is not programmed at this time.
By: Edda Pujadas
Considering the City of Doral’s familiar character, the City Council approved an ordinance forbidding the operation of gaming halls and casinos within the limits of our city. Ordinance 2021-19 clearly states that this type of business could negatively impact our community.
This ordinance was approved by the City of Doral after Governor Ron DeSantis negotiated a $500 million agreement with the Seminole Tribe in Florida. This agreement prevents the tribe to oppose to the transfer of existing licenses for slot machines in any place 15 miles away from their casino in the city of Hollywood.
Regarding the City of Doral, as of today and in legal terms, there are no extra steps to be taken. The ordinance forbidding casinos and gaming halls has already been approved is now part of our Code. Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez stated that he does not support casinos in our city because he does not believe they are positive for our city, which has been centered in its incorporation in families, in the development of world-class parks, bringing high-grade schools, and first-level corporations.
Bermudez added that all Mayors should be concerned about the new gaming laws. They should be clear that the autonomy of each city and its residents is very important. “Several residents have expressed to me that they do not want to see in our city the problems that come with gambling. Nevertheless, I am a true believer of the democratic process, and I believe that this is something that Doral residents should decide via a referendum, not the State.”
Section 5.02 of the City’s Charter establishes the process to initiate a referendum. This basically indicates that the voters will have the power to request the reconsideration of the City Council to change any ordinance that has already been adopted.
A minimum of 25 voters must initiate this procedure. These will start the proceedings by presenting the request and an affidavit to an official designated by the City Council. The petition for a referendum must be signed by at least 10% of the total voters in the city.
YES OR NO?
Anticipating the possibility of a referendum taking place in our city given the discussions that this subject has opened, Doral Family Journal decided to ask a group of Doral residents if they agree or not with the installation of gaming halls and casinos within our city.
Cosme Liccardo assures that he would not have any problem with the installation of gaming halls and casinos in the City of Doral, depending on where these were located and how they would interfere with the normal operation of the city. The only reason for which I would not agree with this is because these types of businesses can generate traffic problems. “We already have a limited transit every day; I would not know how to work around the traffic problem with people coming and going to our city to participate in these activities.”
Maria Carolina Gonzalez, who has been living in Doral for several years, is opposed to the installation of gaming halls. “I believe that one of the reasons for which the City of Doral is among the best cities to live in, in the United States, is because there are excellent schools, open spaces, and comfortable residential communities here. Casinos involve a not family-oriented environment, and it does not match with our city.”
Ezequiel Zamora states that he would agree with the installation of casinos and gaming halls in Doral if, and only if, the funds generated by them are invested in projects for which there are no resources as of today. “For example, there are some projects that cannot be done because they depend on Miami Dade County, and we have to wait until resources are assigned to them. I suggest that the funds created by gaming halls and casinos are allocated to these types of projects.”
Norah Lossada has lived and worked in Doral for many years. She has always been interested in working for the city’s correct functioning and keeping its family essence. It is for this reason that she strongly opposes the installation of gaming halls and casinos in Doral. “Gambling brings vices and vicious people, and we do not want this for our communities.”
Jose Viloria not only lives in Doral but he also works in the residential mortgage business. He considers that a casino in Doral will negatively affect our residential areas; it will bring more traffic and the possibility that minors are tempted to get involved in gambling.
Jeannette Quintero, who also lives in Doral, stated that she would agree with the installation of Casinos in Doral. “This will make our city more attractive, it will bring more tourism, new job openings, and more income. Doral is just missing a beach and casinos; therefore, I would agree.”
Gabriela Vergara lives in Doral, and she considers it her home because it is the place where she is raising her children. “No, I do not agree with casinos in Doral. We chose this residential area because we want to raise our children away from vice. I will say that I am extremely conservative; I believe that casinos are perfect but away from my home, I do not want vices close to my family.”
Hilda Celis approves of the installation of casinos because this will bring comfort and easiness to the people that enjoy this type of activities, and she believes that this will bring extra income for the city. “I am thinking about Caracas, when the casinos closed the ones that were affected were the senior citizens because they took away one of the few things that they use as entertainment and to make friends. What would I control? Parking spaces, location, which I believe should be closer to the industrial area of the city, and the minimum age to play which should be 25 years or older, when there is more conscience of the ways in which gaming can affect you.”
Andres Uzcategui adds touch to his comment; he indicates that “forbidding” is never the correct option. “Words such as prohibit, forbid, eliminate or limit are the ones that have driven our countries to authoritarian government systems. I believe that casinos are not only places of vice, but they are also entertainment centers that can perfectly function if the laws in our city are adjusted.”