Casino kingpin calls BS – during committee meeting – on gambling criticsby Dara Kam | November 16th, 2011
Colin Au, president of Malaysian-based gambling giant Genting America, made big promises to lawmakers during a Senate Regulated Industries workshop on Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff’s proposal designed to allow up to three casinos in South Florida.
Three casinos in Miami-Dade County could ring up $1.7 billion a year for the state’s cash-strapped coffers, Au said. The high-end resorts would also create 100,000 jobs in a state where the unemployment rate is hovering near the double-digits, Au pledged. Not just any jobs, either, the Malaysian native announced.
“They are good-paying jobs. They work in air-conditioned facilities. They wear uniforms,” Au stated.
Au’s stats raised a few eyebrows, but not as many as his frank dismissal of critics’ contention that the jobs would be snapped up by out-of-state workers already employed at casinos in Atlantic City or Las Vegas.
“That’s bullsh–, OK?” Au said, drawing gasps from the standing-room-only committee room.
Au’s use of the profanity is nearly unheard of in the staid halls of the Capitol, but elicited no rebuke from chairman Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, as other chairmen have done in similar circumstances.
And neither Au’s second use of the off-color term when he pooh-poohed allegations that his proposed 5,000-room gambling resort in Miami, where his company has already purchased property, would put other hotels and restaurants out of business.
“That’s bullsh– again,” the heavily-accented Au insisted. “It does not take people’s lunch. It creates lunch, dinner plus breakfast for everyone.”
After the meeting, Bogdanoff said Au oversold her proposal, possibly damaging its chances of passing. His use of the blue language may have been a cultural difference, Bogdanoff guessed.
“You can do that privately. We all kind of sometimes use language that’s inappropriate but I don’t do it, (a) in a public forum or (b) in a committee meeting,” Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said. “I just want him to tone the rhetoric down.”