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Neverglades logs 4: Humans of the Neverglades
In todays log we will discuss the fluffy’s second most common killer. Humans. But before we do that I would like to explain more of the fluffy’s biology. The nutrition of the fluffy in the Neverglades is actually quite good. They are omnivores believe it or not. Meat does have some vital vitamins that they require to sustain good nutrition. However, they can have a full vegetarian diet and survive, however, their muscles and digestive system will not be up to par. Fluffy’s from the north tend to have lots of diarrhea, that is what happens if their only food source is just milk or just grass. Grass is low in fiber and nutrients compared to other vegetables so it is no wonder northern feral fluffy’s defecation is mostly liquid. In Florida, they can eat pond apples. A very bitter but still nutritious cousin of the apples we know and love. Fluffies don’t seem to mind the bitter taste, however, that is because they are feral. Pond apples were given to domestic fluffies and they rejected it. As ferals they will make the most out of any flavor. Other fruits they can eat are seagrapes, coconuts, and the thousands of orange, lime, and peach trees left over from the farms. Such trees are now spreading all throughout the Neverglades. As for meat, they have 2 main sources. Other fluffies, foals, and insects. They will munch on the countless grasshoppers, ants, beetles, and any other small arthropod. So I guess fluffies are above at least bugs in the food chain, however there are plenty of insects that can eat them if they have large numbers. With such a balanced diet, mares rarely have stillborns or defective foals! Also these Neverglade fluffy fecal matter is solid. Their rear ends still get covered in the stuff however… The Neverglades have countless factions that scour the land. Keep in mind fluffies are biologically programmed to love humans unconditionally. Most feral fluffies have never seen a human and yet they still crave their love. Our drones have caught them murmuring to themselves that they want a “hooman huggies.” Humans are practically mythical gods to them at this point. When they do see one, they will become overjoyed and charge towards them asking for “huggies” and “gib upsies.” The human almost always kills them. After a few foul encounters with a human a fluffy will learn to fear us, unfortunately, they can’t seem to teach other fluffies that lesson. In parenthesis is how their standings are with fluffies, from most friendly to least it goes Loving-neutral-aggressive-hostile. Researchers (Neutral): Us, we do not kill fluffies unless required for an experiment or if we are low on food supplies. Rangers (Aggressive): These are the park Rangers, they are one half invasive species hunter, one half SWAT team. They will kill any python, boar, Nile crocodile, or iguana they come across. As for fluffies, they used to kill on sight, but the fluffy population always seemed to bounce back. They were spending countless dollars on ammo and trying to club a whole herd to death could take hours. And again, the fluffies always bounced back, always. They deemed it pointless unless using them for target practice. Also, they will kill them if bored. (Video plays, it seems to be from a phone) Filming Ranger: Duuuuddee got the ‘nade? A herd off fluffies are running to them in the distance, feint “huggies” and “upsies” can be heard. Other Ranger: Yeah dude! Fuckin’ watch. (Now Shouting) HEY FLUFFS, PLAY WITH BALL! He pulls the pin to the grenade and throws it at the herd. The fluffies shout “yay baww! fank 'ou.” They played with the grenade for only a second before it went off, causing blood, shit, fur, and dead foals to coat the surrounding land. The explosion was followed by the roaring laughter of the Rangers. (Video Ends) Armed with assault rifles and large artillery, the Rangers are also in the Neverglades to stop the Cuban Cartels, Brofluff Cultists, Anarchists, malfunctioning robots, and any other nefarious activity in the Neverglades. [Redacted] Man (Extremely hostile, even to [Redacted]!): [Redacted] Man is [Redacted], im*e#sely da^ng3r&s [Red4c1ed] d0 4OT A9pr0c#----- Squatters (Hostile): Not everyone took kindly to evacuate all land south of Lake Okeechobee order. Many demanded to say, and the governor obliged, however, he warned them that there would be no police force or fire fighters to protect them, or corporations to supply jobs. Over the years many Squatters moved back to the inhabited parts of Florida such as the pan handle after life got too rough. Not only that, many Squatters have been killed by the Cartels, Anarchists, and even panthers and black bears. The Fort of Fort Myers was completely destroyed by [Redacted] Man. Which used to be the largest Squatter stronghold. Now they are sparse and no longer live in large communities, instead they live more of a hermit life. Fluffies are their main source of meat. They will hunt them; such a task is easily done with fluffies prancing to them. But they will also construct traps. The most effective is a Comfortfluffy. Think of it like a scarecrow but opposite. It is human effigy that it is made to attract Fluffies. As they approach the comfortfluffy, the fluffies will try to hug it. At the base of the comfortfluffy is a large mouse trap device hidden under pine needles. Such a device can kill 5 fluffies in 1 activation. (Video starts) A Comfortfluffy is erected in the backyard of an isolated house in a grassland. Around the Comfortfluffy is tan palmfrawns that hide the killing mechanism. There is even a small radio hidden in the chest of the Comfortfluffy playing songs one would hear on Fluffy TV. A small pack of 5 adult fluffies with 2 mares with foals on their backs happily waddle towards the comfortfluffy shouting “huggies!” They begin to nudge the pants of the comfortfluffy and although metal creaking sounds could be heard, the trap does not activate. Then one of the fluffies begins to jump while singing “upsies!” The jump was just the pressure needed to activate the trap. A rusty screech is heard as the trap activates and 4 mouse trap-like bars swing down around the comfortfluffy. The cheers of the fluffies turn to a quick shriek, a loud crack, followed by some meek crying. 3 of the fluffies died on impact, their scull or chest cavity popped like a pimple. The 2 that survived had their hind ends crushed and their entrails shot out their rear. “Big owwies!!!” They meekly cried as the life in them slowly drained. The Foals that got hit by the bars were completely obliterated. The ones that were not hit were completely unscathed, however, they began to cry about everyone taking the “foweba sweepies.” As shadow then looms over them. “Sandra! Were havin’ foal stew tonight!” (Video ends) Cuban Cartels (Hostile): Even after the legalization of marijuana the Cartels did not slow down. They are still quite in business thanks to the ever-growing demand for cocaine, heroin, and opium. The Cartels will make landfall in the Neverglades if the make it past the heavily patrolled Keys Atolls. They even have some bases the Rangers can’t take out unless they get military assistance. The Cartels will actively lure fluffies into their bases. They will put signs featuring happy looking humans with arrows pointing at the base. The fluffies will gladly follow the signs. Once lured into the base the Cartel henchmen will slaughter them for food. Anarchists (Loving to Hostile): True to the definition of their namesake, they have no set rules or governance, and most anarchist groups have no relation to one another. You’ll have the ones who come to the Neverglades to abuse its low surveillance to torture and murder Squatters, other anarchists, and any other poor human that gets in their way. They will of course have their way with any and all fluffies. Then you’ll have the more hippie kind who just want to have a nice little commune away from corporations. These are usually very loving to the fluffies, most wont even hunt them with the amount of vegans they have. However, these communes don’t last long due to attacks from the Cartels, other anarchists, [Redacted] Man, and even large animal attacks. We’ve even witnessed a massive pack of coyotes kill an entire commune. Brofluff Cult (Loving): This all male cult worships some sort of female equine pantheon. Part of their religion is to be subservient to all fluffies. They will come to the Neverglades and build small fluffly sized homes. They will cook countless spaghetti for the fluffies. They will protect the fluffies, even going as far as killing any human who dare hurts a fluffy. However, do note they will… mate… with a mare they call their “fluffu.” They will also breed fluffies in hopes of reincarnating the “Daughters of the Goddesses.” The Rangers will keep a close eye on them, if they make any aggressive move towards other humans the Rangers will rout them. Pirates (Hostile): Basically anarchists that patrol the seas. They will commonly go ashore to restock on fluffies unless the find a drifting boat full of fluffies. Fathers of Freeport (Hostile): Please remember, when I write “hostile” I only mean to fluffies, these men are actually very kind. The name of their faction was dubbed by me, they are simply Bahaman refugees searching for food. After sea level rise the Bahaman government disbanded, taking the upper class with them to live in Florida’s panhandle. The rest of the civilians were left to fend for themselves. Food is now critically short over in the Bahamas. What little land is left can’t grow food and the coral reefs have been overfished to depletion. However, some savvy fisherman have learned about the fluffy situation in Florida. They sail over to the east coast and collect a hulls worth of fluffies to take back to the remnants of their starving country. This particular group I was monitoring always stocks up at an atoll building at Hallandale Reef. This building is completely surrounded by water and somehow stuffed to the gills with fluffies on all dry floors. I was even able to intercept and question the captain of the fishing boat. (Start of transcript) Researcher: So what brought you to Hallandale Reef? Captain: The reefs ova’ by Miami have too many pirates scoutin’ the seas. But here it is close enough to Seminole Territory dat da pirates shy away. Researcher: Has the Seminoles have any qualms with you? Captain: Nah, dey know we mean no harm. We take only the fluffy ones. Dey seem to not care fo’ them. Researcher: Are you afraid this building will run out of fluffies? Captain: (Laughs) No, no, no. Dees tings have many many babs’. If anyting we be doing them a favor and stoppin’ them from ending up like our own home. Researcher: Have any of your men gotten hurt trying to farm these fluffies? Captain: Yes, a greenhorn died. The floors of dis building be covered in shit. Poor greenhorn slipped and fell down stairs. Researcher: I see, have you encountered [Redacted] Man? Captain: Oh no lord Jesus, nonono! We be going now, good day! Researcher: But… Captain: Our hulls are full, and you reminded me of why our people can’t immigrate here, goodbye! And may lord Jesus protect your soul, science man who pokes tings dat need not be pokin’! (End of Transcript) Seminole Tribe (Neutral): A very powerful faction on par with the Rangers when it comes to control in the Neverglades. With the rising waters the Seminoles have lost lots of their ancestral lands and the USA did not grant them any more territory. However, they adapted. Their crowing hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel was a casino and hotel that is shaped like a giant guitar. Now that it is surrounded by water, they modified it to work also as a yacht club and dock. They even built an underwater hotel near it. People from all over the world fly in to West Palm Beach to take a cruise to their establishment. They also rule the area with an iron fist, killing any pirates, cultists, Cartel, or any other undesirables that try to make a footing in their territory. To fluffies, they are indifferent. See them as nothing more as a pest. They will kill any feral fluffy that is found in the halls of their hotels. But for any fluffy roaming the marshes of their territory, they know culling won’t really solve anything, so they let nature take its course. They also breed fluffies for desirable colors and will even have Fluffy Shows where breeders exhibit their fluffy show-pony. Fighters For Florida (Or the FFF) (Neutral to Hostile): With the right permits and go aheads from government bodies, civilians can enter the Neverglades. The FFF is a hunting force of civilians that is organized to hunt invasive species such as pythons, Nile crocs, and any other invasive threat. However, ones hunting for pythons and such do not target fluffies because they know it will make no difference and their reserve ammo is better spent fighting any human threat that tries to harm them. That being said, some… questionably moraled FFF hunters that call themselves “abusers” come to the Neverglades to only torture fluffies to death. Since fluffies are labeled as invasive animals “to be removed by any means necessary” the abusers are 100% in legal right to… “hunt” fluffies in any way they want. That about covers the humans of the Neverglades. Now we shall talk about native fluffavores, aka native animals that can eat adult fluffies. The Black Bear: This animal is an omnivore in which 80% of their diet was vegetation. Not anymore, now their primary food source is fluffies. Because they are easier to hunt then to forage for fruits. If a heard of Fluffies spots one, they will usually shout and panic and try to quickly waddle away. The Black Bear will make chase and usually eat the one that trips, or it will swipe at the slowest one and kill it. Black Bears can even take out a nest by themselves. Even if the fluffies try to hide in a burrow the bears can dig down to them, but they usually go after easier fluffy prey. Black Bears in human ruins have learned that pushing open doors or breaking into boxes, cars, trash cans, and other containers have a good chance of revealing a hiding fluffy. Also note, fluffies also tend to think ALL land animals fear the water like them and will rush into shallow water to escape the black bear. They will then tease the bear, until the bear effortlessly charges into the water and kills them. Panthers: We have talked about the general hunting habits of the panther in log 1, however I’d like to add on the habits of an alpha male panther. Alphas will patrol a large territory and basically kill any animal it does not want in its territory including other male panthers. One alpha has been documented killing 125 fluffies in a mega herd. It only ate 2. Florida Gar: This fish can grow up to 3 meters in length. It used to be a very rare sight this far south in Florida after overfishing from humans. Now, they have made ma huge comeback thanks to the Neverglades low human population and fluffies as a food source. Unlike smaller gar or bass, these fish can eat an adult fluffy. They will glide into the shallows and scoop up a fluffy wading through the water and then use its serpentine body to slither back into the depth all while the fluffy begs to be let go. If the initial bite does not kill it that is. Raptors: Hawks, Eagles, Osprey, Falcons and any large bird that hunts with talons. The red shouldered hawk is very common predator of the skies. “Wingie munstah” as they are called by fluffies are common throughout all habitats and thus Raptors have the largest kill count of fluffies if you don’t count humans. Our camera drones must always use its cloaking device not only to not spook the fluffies, but to hide from raptors. (Video starts) A Red Shouldered Hawk sits on a tall cypress branch as it spots a herd of fluffies waddling into the dried cypress dome. “Fluffy so thiwsty… need some wawas…” They then come across a puddle and joyously begin to drink. That is when the hawk makes its move. It glides down under the branches and before the fluffies can even cry out in warning. The hawk snatches up a small adult fluffy, as it flies the fluffy shits on everything below. The hawk waits for it to stop shitting and carries him up to a branch. All fluffies scatter in fear but one, the victim fluffies mate and her foals. “Wingie munstah! Pwease gib speshuw fwend back!” The foals also cry for their mother’s mate. The hawk then lands on a branch and holds the fluffy down with one talon that has dug into his flesh. The hawk begins to peck at the fluffy’s side and the fluffy begins to cry out “biggest owwies!” The hawk rips out the fluffy’s liver, then a kidney, then more chunks of flesh until the fluffy dies of organ failure. Stated, the hawk then pushes the fluffy off the branch. Its corpse hits multiple branches on the way down until it lands and the mare and her foals begin to cry at his corpse. The mare then is snatched up by a bald eagle and the cycle repeats. The video then shows a clip of two ospreys fighting over a filly midair. It should be noted that not all Raptors kill fluffies by consumption, sometimes they simply drop them. The osprey continue to fight until they drop the filly into the brackish water below. She screams and shouts until she drowns and disappears under the tea-like waters of the estuary. The video then shows a clip of a bald eagle migrating high in the air. The fluffy it is carrying then shits so hard it startles the eagle and it drops it. The video zooms in as the fluffy splats on the abandoned parking lot below. (Video ends) Alligators: These ancient predators are a fluffy’s worst nightmare because it is a “wawa munsta” that can exit the water and kill them. It is immensely rare for an alligator to hunt on land. They are almost entirely ambush predators, laying low in the water, hidden until a land animal needs to take a drink so it can immediately bite the prey’s head and pull it into the water. Such a perfect strategy is why alligators have been relatively unchanged since the time of dinosaurs. Such a strategy is perfect to eat fluffies, to no surprise. However, why wait? Alligators will leave the water, charge at a herd and scoop up one that did not run away in time. If they see trapped fluffies, they can devour multiple. (Video starts) There is a large abandoned Olympic sized swimming pool that has essentially turned into a marsh. Ten fluffies have entered the pool on the shallow end where sediment pile up from draining rainwater has made a ramp. They waddle to the diving well of the pool which has become a small pond within itself. The fluffies begin to drink from the pondwater and a massive alligator from the kiddie pool scurries into the pool marsh. The fluffies finally see her but it is too late. The walls of the pool got them trapped and the alligator blocks the only way out. The alligator slowly gets them to back up into the corner of the pool as they meekly cry and whine and shit. She lunges forward and bites one, then a second, then another! She shallows 3 fluffies down as they scream and defecate. The rest of the herd use this time to escape. However, more alligators enter the marsh pool as their cries altered the whole waterpark. A new video clip starts to show off how some mares will sacrifice foals to save themselves. A mare is cornered in a sewer as a 50cm juvenile alligator hisses and harasses the mare. The foal on her back shouts “Mummah! make wawa munsta go 'way!” She lets out a sad cry “Am sowwy bestes' babbeh.” And drops the foal on the ground, the alligator scoops it up as the mare escapes. (Video ends) Seagulls: Alone they can eat a foal, but a flock can peck a lone adult to death and eat small chunks of them. Those are all the native fluffavores we have for today. Next log we will talk about defective robots that are scattered throughout the Neverglades. And how their glitched programming makes them a threat to fluffies… unless their programming was to kill them in the first place. Then they are not glitched.
After banning 'Star Wars' slot machines, Disney spends millions to change Florida gambling law to "protect" its theme parks and properties - including Galaxy's Edge
Today, I heard about recent efforts by Disney against the gambling industry. I thought you guys would be interested in hearing about it, as it also heavily involves Star Wars...and particularly, Disney's plans in 2019 for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and the Star Wars hotel, at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It also involves Disney's existing, popular offering "Star Wars Day at Sea", and other Star Wars-related plans for its cruises in 2019, which is parly based out of the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida, and Port Canaveral (Orlando, Florida). The tl;dnr of it is as such: (broken down into smaller sections)
Before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, Lucasfilm had allowed the construction and use of character-themed slot machines, and other gambling aspects, as related to the Star Wars brand. This was presumably done for Lucasfilm to make money off of licensing fees and royalties.
Disney, after buying Lucasfilm in 2012, "phased out" (re: banned) Star Wars and Marvel slot machines at casinos, and online gambling games, after being "exposed" as [now] owning them by New York Times reporters Lizette Alvarez and Michael Snyder. They have done so to protect their "family-friendly" brand, of which they now consider Star Wars to be a part of.
Casino owners and online vendors were against the move, saying it would hurt their businesses by taking away some of their slot machines / online gambling games.
Casino owners in Florida, seeking to expand their business(es), formed pro-gambling-growth groups, designed to try and stimulate local economies and businesses by building new casinos across the state. This would presumably include in tourism-heavy areas, such as Orlando (of which Walt Disney World is a major feature) and Miami (which is a major port for Disney Cruise Lines).
Disney has now collaborated with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the latter of which is a major gambling monolith and owns the Hard Rock franchise, to try and pass law to change current Florida rules. The change would make it harder for people to build and open new casinos in, and around, their properties (including Disney's currently-in-production Star Wars Orlando theme park, Galaxy's Edge) by making it so that 60% of state voters would have to vote "Yes" on gambling and casino expansion in the future.
Disney has spent an estimated $17.5 million, in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe, since 2015 to combat gambling expansion in Florida. (Source) Disney donated $5 million to anti-gambling expansion efforts in April 2018, which the Seminole Tribe matched. (Source)
Disney also donated $400,000 to support the campaign of Florida governor candidate Adam Putnam, who supports Disney's anti-gambling expansion stance.
Disney has invested an estimated $1 billion in the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. As the theme park is doing something never before done - building a land around an entirely new environment within the franchise, rather than an existing one - they are taking a huge financial risk. Their anti-gambling expansion efforts are also related to protecting their financial interests in Galaxy's Edge, as well as their planned Star Wars hotel and resort.
The Walt Disney Company is one of the most successful media conglomerate companies in the world. Just about everyone has heard of the Disney theme parks stationed in Florida, California, and abroad. Just about everyone has seen classic Disney films like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Not everyone knows about Disney's relationship with the gambling industry, however, and it is a noteworthy one. Over the years, Disney has acquired the rights to several major entertainment companies and their licensed characters. In 2009, Disney bought the Marvel Entertainment company, creator of the famed Marvel comic books and a slew of popular superhero characters. In 2012, it purchased all rights to LucasFilm, the parent company that created the Star Wars brand. Disney announced its plans to phase out all Star Wars and Marvel-themed casino slot machines in the United States last fall. The multimillion dollar company has the power to do this, because it now owns all rights to these brands. According to a Disney spokeswoman, the character-themed slot phase-out is not a new decision. As part of Marvel's “integration” with Disney, she said the decision was made several years ago to let the machines gradually fade out through attrition. Only a few Marvel license agreements remain at this point, and they are set to expire within the next several years. Star Wars-themed slots will also trickle away, but it will take a few more years for that process to complete. [...] Disney wields a certain amount of power over casinos, both on land and online, because of these acquisitions. Instead of promoting Star Wars and Marvel characters via slot machines, the company prefers to use their likenesses in movies that serve to perpetuate the Disney brand. As the owner of LucasFilm, Disney has another trilogy of Star Wars films currently in the works. [...] Fans can expect to see Disney continue to advance their brands through avenues other than the gaming industry. Disney has made its opinion of the gambling industry known in Florida: It does not support the addition of more resort casinos to that area. Not only does Disney plan to phase out Marvel and Star Wars-themed slot machines, it also hopes to prevent the development of new casino resorts in the state. As it stands today, Orlando's Walt Disney World is the top tourist attraction on the globe. Over 50 million people visit the entertainment resort every year and partake of theme parks like Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. From a business standpoint, it makes sense that Disney would not want another tourist draw infringing on its potential customer base in the Orlando area. Disney denies that self-interest is its main motivation for opposing new casinos. Andrea Finger, a spokeswoman for the company, said the corporation opposes casino expansion for “many reasons.” One of the primary reasons is the fact that Florida is a “family friendly” vacation spot; adding more casinos to the landscape would tarnish that. Finger lauded Florida's efforts in “research, innovation, and entrepreneurship” and indicated that adding more casino resorts would create an “inconsistent” atmosphere in the state. Finger made no statement suggesting that Disney is protecting its own interests by objecting to more casinos. This inference has been made, however, by critics based on the connection between Disney and its Marvel and Star Wars slot machines that recently came to light. Critics also cite the fact that increased Florida casinos might steal valuable convention contracts from the Mickey Mouse company. At this point, Disney hosts approximately 700,000 square feet of convention space in its Florida resorts. Disney's ownership of Marvel and LucasFilm slot machines was brought to the public's attention by New York Times reporters Lizette Alvarez and Michael Snyder. Critics immediately began shouting hypocrisy at the fact that Disney, a vocal gambling opponent, owns and profits from character-themed casino slot machines. The Times reporters asked Disney whether its ownership of the slots “undercut” its casino gambling stance. A spokeswoman responded that the company's affiliation with the casinos was only temporary, and that it would take a few years for current slot machine contracts to expire. [...] When Marvel and Star Wars-themed slots do eventually disappear from casinos, their absence will be a blow to the gaming industry. Casino patrons are drawn to the colorful games touting Spider Man, Darth Vader, and other exciting Hollywood characters. Until the machines are completely phased out, the characters will continue to entertain casino patrons both online and on land. The online gaming industry will definitely be affected by Disney's prohibition. The Spider Man Slot game, for example, is an enticing game for online gamblers that was introduced in 2012. Other Marvel-themed online slots include Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor, and Wolverine Slots. The eventual loss of these games will leave a gaping hole in customers' palette of gaming choices. [Possibly in response to Disney's decision], a group called the Associated Industries of Florida launched a new pro-casino campaign. This group is lobbying for more casinos in the area as a means of promoting jobs and stimulating the local economy. Analysts expect the battle between Disney and pro-casino lobbyists to become more heated as politicians compete for voter support in the upcoming election. (Source) [However, Orlando isn't the only city that Disney is engaging in anti-casino efforts with.] The biggest challenger standing between [the city of] Miami and casinos is a mouse. Walt Disney World, the giant resort near Orlando whose four theme parks draw more than 45 million visitors a year, has made preventing "destination" casinos a top priority. And few, if any, businesses carry as much weight in Florida as Disney, which employs more than 60,000 workers, generates nearly $600 million a year in tax revenue — and doled out more than $2 million to political candidates and causes during the past election cycle. Some analysts say Disney — and, by extension, Orlando's entire tourism industry — has good reason to be wary of casinos. Though adult-oriented resorts in South Florida are unlikely to appeal to Disney's core audience of families with young children, they could siphon away travelers in narrower segments that are also important to the resort, from South Americans to conventions to weddings. "Disney has lots of little pockets or niches that they're really good at getting market share in. And it adds up," said Duncan Dickson, a professor at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management. "Disney doesn't want another Las Vegas anywhere close to them. Who needs the competition?" [Case in point, Disney also has Disney Cruise Lines, based in both Miami and Port Canaveral (Orlando).] Disney Cruise Line has revealed it will extend its popular "Star Wars Day at Sea" program through 2019, with the addition of nine cruises -- each of which will include a Star Wars-themed sea day, complete with special programming and restaurant menus. Family-friendly activities include Star Wars character meet-and-greets, movie nights (featuring new releases), Star Wars trivia, and a Jedi training show, where kids can learn lightsaber skills and battle Darth Vader. Throughout the day, restaurants and bars also will serve themed foods and cocktails. The sea day will end with a fireworks show and deck party, hosted by Star Wars heroes and villains. All cruises span seven nights and depart from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida. (Source) [...] Disney has always opposed efforts to expand gambling, [citing it as being againts its "family-friendly" image]. The Walt Disney Co., one of the most brand-protective companies on the planet, does not want to jeopardize its kid-friendly reputation by any association whatsoever with casinos and the taboo images they often conjure. The company's cruise line is the only major operator to sail ships without onboard casinos, which are typically one of the biggest generators of on-board spending. "We've studied this issue carefully and remain opposed for many reasons," said Disney spokesman Mike Griffin, "including the fact that it is inconsistent with Florida's brand as a family-friendly destination, and with the efforts we've long supported to diversify Florida's economy through research, innovation, and entrepreneurship." The legislation to be considered in Tallahassee would authorize three "destination" casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Each would boast a luxury hotel, shops, restaurants, convention space and casinos with every major game, from blackjack to roulette and craps. Any company awarded a casino license would have to spend at least $2 billion building the facility. Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts, both based in Las Vegas, and Genting, a Malaysian-based resort developer, are among the companies expected to seek licenses. Genting has already spent more than $300 million to buy bay-front property in downtown Miami and has announced plans for a $3.8 billion resort. All have promised they will create thousands of jobs in South Florida, making the deal attractive to lawmakers hoping to lower the state's 10.6 percent unemployment rate. Analysts say anyone that invests that much capital to build a resort also will have to spend lavishly to market the property. At a minimum, that will force Disney to ramp up its own spending on advertising, eroding its profit margins. "Anytime you've got to fight and compete with more marketing dollars, which you know these folks have in abundance, it makes Disney's job that much harder to battle against," said Vicki Johnson, a tourism-marketing expert in Orlando. More specifically, casinos could prove attractive draws in key markets for Disney. Executives at Genting, for instance, have said they would market heavily in Latin America. Latin America — particularly Brazil, its biggest country — has become one of Disney World's most valuable markets in recent years. This summer, even as overall attendance at the resort was about flat with a year ago, Disney officials said traffic from Brazil was up by a double-digit percentage. Though Disney doesn't disclose exact attendance numbers, national data show that visitation from Brazil is up 27% to more than 833,000 so far this year. And though Miami is the most popular destination for South American travelers, Orlando is growing more rapidly. Disney says its business from Brazil is predominantly family-leisure travel, the group least likely to be swayed by casinos. But some industry followers say lavish resorts, when combined with the boutique shopping already in Miami, might be enough to peel away some of that business, especially Brazilians with older children or none at all. "All of a sudden, it really cuts into their [Disney's] South American markets," Johnson said. Group meetings and conventions business is also a growing profit center for Disney, which has nearly 470,000 square feet of meeting space spread among its hotels. It also routinely picks up lucrative private parties and other business tied to shows using Orange County's massive, publicly owned convention center. Finally, allowing casinos in South Florida could lead to pressure to build more in other parts of the state. Already, some hoteliers in Orlando — led by Harris Rosen, owner of three major convention hotels — have made rumblings about bringing casinos to Central Florida. And officials at Port Canaveral — Disney Cruise Line's home port — are interested in casinos, too. "Once they get their foot in the door, what's next? Orange County is going to say, 'Well, if it's legal in Dade County, why isn't it legal here?' " said Dickson, the UCF professor. Disney has worked to enlist broader business groups to fight the casino legislation, most notably the Florida Chamber of Commerce, even though more than half of the businesses represented on the chamber's board of directors say they are neutral on the issue. And the opposition from Disney has put casino boosters on the defensive during the past few days. "Florida's identity cannot be changed because one casino or two destination resorts open in Miami-Dade County," said state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, who is sponsoring the casino legislation in the Florida House of Representatives. "Florida will always be the Sunshine State," he added. "The dominant trademark of Florida will always be Disney World. I don't think they have anything to worry about when it comes to that." (Source) There have been multiple attempts to garner support in the state legislature for non-Native American casinos and other forms of gambling expansion in the state. Currently, the Seminoles control the ability of Florida to expand full-fledged casinos per their current compact. And the power of the Seminoles in the state is substantial. In order to change current law, there must be a constitutional amendment backed by the voters of Florida. There is one such opportunity on the ballot for the November 6, 2018 election. The Casino Gambling Initiative, if approved, would give voters the exclusive right to authorize casinos going forward, casinos being comprised of card games, slot machines, and other casino-style games. All ballot measures in the future would then require a citizen-initiated process by which a number of signatures of registered voters must be obtained for ballot consideration. Currently, however, the Seminoles reserve the exclusive right to offer blackjack, craps, and roulette in Florida, which would present a problem that would have to be addressed. The agreement with the Seminoles was signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2015, and is effective for 20 years. While this may end up in a legal fight, poker rooms are not an exclusive right of the tribe, and would not be an issue. If Amendment 3 passes in November by 60% or more of the popular vote, a new day may begin for casinos in Florida. This will also drastically increase the opportunity for poker rooms throughout the state. (Source) The US Supreme Court repealed the longstanding federal sports betting ban known as PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act). The landmark decision allows states to dictate their own sports wagering laws. That means sports betting could be coming to Florida casinos, should the legislature pass market regulations. But Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam said this week that if he’s elected, he would oppose such legislation. [Putnam also echoes Disney's reasoning.] “I’ve always been one who has said we don’t need to expand the footprint of gambling in Florida,” Putnam declared at a campaign stop. “It’s not who we are as a state. We’re a family-friendly vacation destination. We’re a small business-oriented state.” “If I lived in the middle of the desert in Nevada, [like Las Vegas], maybe I would grasp onto whatever straw or life raft somebody threw me,” he continued. “But we live in Florida, and we’ve got unlimited opportunities, and we don’t need to sell our state short.” (Source) Earlier this year, Disney also gave $400,000 to Florida Grown, a committee supporting Putnam's gubernatorial bid. [...] Disney officials would not agree to an interview, but in a statement, Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World Resorts, wrote, “We support candidates who understand issues important to our company, and demonstrate strong support for business and tourism in Florida.” (Source) [Meanwhile, Disney is busy constructing what it hopes will be its next big moneymaker: Galaxy's Edge, a Star Wars-themed land in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Disney also plans to construct a Star Wars-themed hotel and resort adjacent to Galaxy's Edge.] The ongoing success of high-profile films, like the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, can play a big role in the theme parks ability to tap into new characters and storylines for rides and shows. Experts have said the success in theme park rides today are built on characters and properties that resonate with visitors outside the park. Thus new lands themed after popular franchises have proven to be a boon — like Disney's Star Wars and Frozen attractions, and Universal Orlando Resort's success with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. [So far this year], the theme parks division for the quarter saw a 13% increase in revenue to $4.87 billion, up from $4.29 billion for the same time last year. The division also saw a 13% increase in revenue for the first six months of the year to $10.03 billion, up from $8.85 billion for the year-ago period. According to the earnings report: "Results included a benefit from a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday relative to our fiscal periods. The current quarter included one week of the Easter holiday, whereas the entire Easter holiday fell in the third quarter of the prior year. Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was primarily due to increased guest spending, attendance growth at Walt Disney World Resort and higher sponsorship revenue, partially offset by increased costs. Guest spending growth was due to increases in average ticket prices, average daily hotel room rates and food, beverage and merchandise spending. The increase in costs was primarily due to labor and other cost inflation, an increase in depreciation associated with new attractions and higher technology spending."(Source) [Driving this growth are Disney's planned new additions, including Galaxy's Edge, which is currently under construction ("labor costs").] Disney’s new Star Wars land won’t open until next year, but it is not too early to declare that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be the most ambitious theme park land ever built. The numbers alone might justify the claim. At 14 acres each, Disney’s twin Star Wars lands will be the largest the company has built at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. Disney has not confirmed a budget for Galaxy’s Edge, but the project is believed widely within the industry to be costing at least one billion dollars. (Source)
Seminole Tribe of Florida (with an Assist from Disney) Protects Florida Gambling Monopoly
The Walt Disney Company spent $20 million in support of a ballot initiative that would give Florida voters the right to prevent the expansion of casino gambling within the state, a measure designed to protect their tourism interests and the state’s brand as a “family friendly” destination. Amendment 3 of the Florida Constitution passed on Tuesday evening, with more than 70% of the state’s voters backing the law that will require new casino projects to gain the support (60% must vote in favor) of the state-wide voting public prior to breaking ground; few (if any) projects are likely to meet the 60% benchmark. MGM Resorts International (seeks licensure in state), the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (both NFL teams are hoping to profit on sports betting) were among those that publicly opposed the measure; each of the 3 entities spent $500K on the proposed amendment’s “no” campaign. Howie Long-Short: Disney (DIS) was invested in the amendment passing for its own selfish reasons, but there’s no bigger beneficiary to the “Voter Control of Gambling” amendment passing than the Seminole Tribe of Florida (spent $16 million on “yes” campaign). The Tribe dominates the Florida gaming landscape, operating in the state under a Federal gaming exemption afforded to Native Americans with little competition; the amendment’s passage ensures the moat remains around their business. The long and costly battle for gaming company expansion into the state just became infinitely more difficult, but don’t expect casino operators to give up on Florida. Dan Alkins (Chairman of the committee opposing the ballot initiative) said should the measure pass “there’s going to be litigation just continuing on forever.” The state’s size/population, reputation as a tourism destination and abundance of retirees makes it a highly desirable locale for casinos to take up residence. It’s worth pointing out the irony in the Miami Dolphins opposition of the amendment, while playing their home games at Hard Rock Stadium; a chain owned by the Seminole Tribe and the one that will pay the franchise $250 million over the next 18 years for naming rights. Speaking of MGM Resorts International (MGM), the company is reportedly exploring a potential merger with Caesar’s Entertainment (CZR) to form a gaming behemoth (think: +/- 50% of all hotel rooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City). While there’s no offer on the table (and it’s possible regulators could determine a merger would create “undue economic concentration), it’s known that “without a CEO, Caesar’s is in play” and that it’s CZR’s activist investors (own +/- 25%) driving the tie-up talk; a merger would allow the combined companies to eliminate redundant “overhead and marketing” expenditures. Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and the Genting Group (OTC: GEBHY) have also been names as companies that could have interest in a CZR (-25% YTD) take-over. With licenses in 13 states (49 casinos), the company is well positioned to benefit from wide-spread sports betting legalization. Fan Marino: Howie mentioned Las Vegas and Atlantic City, so it seems like an opportune time to note that Eilers & Krejcik is projecting New Jersey sportsbooks will generate more sports betting revenue than those in the gambling mecca, as soon as 2021 ($442 million vs. $410 million). The boutique research firm (with a focus on the gaming industry) supported their thesis by pointing out NJ gamblers can make “sports betting transactions” on credit card (as opposed to being forced to make a deposit in a casino), that the state’s sportsbooks have created a highly competitive online/mobile market (think: pricing/promotions) and that state’s licensees have had “very high rates of black market recapture.” Interested in Sports Business? Sign-up for our free daily email newsletter list, here!
PLEASE ADD MORE EVENTS IN COMMENTS This is a list as published by the Convention and Visitors Bureau: Through Mar 10 (weekends): Florida Renaissance Festival, QUIET WATERS PARK Mar 1-3: Miami City Ballet: Program III, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 1: Burgers & Beer Festival, SEMINOLE PARADISE Mar 1: DisneyLive! Mickey's Music Festival, BB&T CENTER Mar 2: Bon Jovi: Because We Can World Tour, BB&T CENTER Mar 2: Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival - A Seaside Affair! Mar 2: ThePreNup, MIRAMAR CULTURAL CENTER Mar 2-3: 25th Annual Las Olas Art Fair, LAS OLAS BOULEVARD Mar 2-3: Big Cypress Shootout: Seminole War Reenactment, BILLIE SWAMP SAFARI Mar 3: SunTrust Jazz Brunch, RIVERWALK Mar 3: Kenny G, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 3: Florida Panthers v. Carolina Hurricanes, BB&T CENTER Mar 5-17: Flashdance, Broadway, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 5 & 8: Florida Panthers v. Winnipeg Jets, BB&T CENTER Mar 5: Judy Collins, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 6: Long Live the King: Allan Harris Sings Nat King Cole, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 7: Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 7-10: PrideFest, WAR MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM Mar 8-9: Daryl Hall & John Oates, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 8-9: Legally Blonde The Musical, FORT LAUDERDALE CHILDREN'S THEATRE Mar 9-10: Arts & Crafts Festival, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Mar 8: Best of The Second City, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 8: Pride Comedy Night, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 9: Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra, BB&T CENTER Mar 9: Celtic Crossroads, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 9: St Patrick's Day Parade & Festival, HUIZENGA PLAZA & RIVERWALK Mar 9-10: Arts Ballet Theatre: Chipollino, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 9-10: Lady Bug Release, MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY & SCIENCE & AUTONATION IMAX Mar 10: Florida Panthers v. Montreal Canadiens, BB&T CENTER Mar 10: MQB Tour - Mira Quien Baila Tour, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 10: St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, DOWNTOWN HOLLYWOOD Mar 11: A Tribute to Pavarotti, MIRAMAR CULTURAL CENTER Mar 12: Florida Panthers v. Tampa Bay Lightning, BB&T CENTER Mar 13: Matchbox Twenty, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 14: Daisy Bates: Southern Circuit Independent Film Festival, MIRAMAR CULTURAL CENTER Mar 14-17: Dania Beach Marine Flea Market, DANIA JAI ALAI Mar 14-17: You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 15-17: MOD Weekend 2013, FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH Mar 15: The Pirates of Penzance, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 16: Florida Panthers v. New York Islanders, BB&T CENTER Mar 16: Sheryl Crow, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 16-17: Jazz in the Gardens, SUN LIFE STADIUM Mar 16-17: Coral Springs Festival of the Arts Mar 17: Viva Las Vegas, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 18-30: World AIDS Museum Exhibit, STONEWALL LIBRARY & GLBT ARCHIVES Mar 19-24: Symphony of the Americas: The Power of 150 Voices Strong! BROWARD CENTER Mar 20: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 21: Clueless on Las Olas, LAS OLAS BOULEVARD Mar 21-24: Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream, BB&T CENTER Mar 22: Gabriel Iglesias, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 23: Pilobolus, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 23-24: Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Get the Sillies Out! BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 24: One Night of Queen, PARKER PLAYHOUSE Mar 24: Yes, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 27-30: Bare the Musical, BROWARD CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Mar 27: Romeo Santos, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 28: Florida Panthers v. Buffalo Sabres, BB&T CENTER Mar 29-30: Eric Clapton, HARD ROCK LIVE Mar 29: Maroon 5, BB&T CENTER Mar 30: An Evening with Maxi Priest, MIRAMAR CULTURAL CENTER Mar 30: Florida Derby, GULFSTREAM PARK RACING & CASINO Mar 30: Florida Panthers v. New Jersey Devils, BB&T CENTER
Hi, I live in south FL, and I'm just looking for casinos based on a few criteria: how soft they are, what rake is like, the limits, etc. - overall, which is/are the most profitable? Is there even a difference based on these factors? Anyone have experience with various casinos with NLHE in the south Florida area? Any other general advice? This'll be my first time playing live at a casino. Casinos I'm looking at:
Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino
Mardi Gras Casino
Seminole Coconut Creek Casino
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
Seminole Casino - Hollywood
Calder Casino & Race Course
Casino Miami Jai-Alai
Flagler Dog Track and Magic City Casino
Hialeah Park Race Track
Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center
Palm Beach Kennel Club
Fort Pierce Jai-Alai & Poker
(Basically in Broward/Miami-Dade-esque areas, if you're familiar to the area) Thanks!
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Florida woman loses $14 million on slots in Seminole casino