Casino Debate Continues

Casino Debate Continues

By John Rupolo. CREATED Feb 18, 2012

FORT MYERS -  An artist's rendering of what the Fort Myers casino resort will look like shows a huge resort that will cost more than a billion dollars. and includes 3 hotels, a  convention center, restaurants, and retail space.  It's slated to be located here off of I-75 near the Forum retail center.

"We need something to drive tourists to this area," said Phil Nichols who is working with the developer to bring the casino resort to SW Florida.  Nichols submitted 27,000 petitions to the Lee County elections office to get a gambling referendum on the ballot in November.  He says the developer wants to send a message to state lawmakers after they shot down legislation this year that would have allowed more casinos to be built in this state.

"To ensure athat legislators in Tallahassee know that SW Florida is in fact demanding a destination resort here," said Nichols.

The developer says it will create 8,000 full time jobs and be an economic shot in the arm for Southwest Florida.

"Lee County has over 11 percent unemployment much higher than the state average and anytime we can revitalize an economy is a good thing," said Nichols.

The support is overwhelming but one Lee County Commissioner says it wont be a win-win for our area.

"The quality of life will be diminished and it won't fix the job issue," said Frank Mann.