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Carmen To The Rescue?

Think of Carmen Electra as the true measure of the state of gambling in South Florida.

If Carmen's our big celeb, well, we ain't Vegas.

Florida's big surge in gambling was sold as the impetus for hoards of new tourists to descend on South Florida, anxious to lose their shirts and provide mighty gobs of cash for the state's beleaguered schools. Just like the Florida lottery. Well. Strike that last statement.

Gaming experts always found that strategy slightly dubious, given that so many other states, and other nations, have been scurrying to open their own casinos and racinos, expecting that same flood of tourists to crowd into their gambling dens. The question lingering over Broward County's new slot casinos has always been: Who's going to travel thousands of miles to Florida to play the same slots they can play back home?

The much ballyhooed introduction of blackjack tables at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino might offer a sobering reminder that, well, we're not yet a bigtime gambling destination.

When the bigtime celebrity is Carmen Electra, the fading sex kitten of the 1990s, it's not a good sign. The Hard Rock blackjack crowd also featured the ex-guitarists for a middling rock band, a couple supporting actors from the discontinued HBO series, The Sopranos, long retired football star Bernie Kosar, Greg (not to be confused with his brother) Gumbel. At least Greg, a TV sportscaster, is still employed.

As a group, they brought a sobering message to South Florida. We ain't Vegas.

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At least they are providing thousands of jobs to help in this troubling economy.

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