Robot 6

Disney accused of ‘hypocrisy’ in South Florida gambling debate

Disney is under fire from a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank for opposing a plan that would allow casino developers to build massive resorts in South Florida, all while the entertainment giant licenses its Marvel comics superheroes to gambling websites.

The Institute for Liberty, an opponent of healthcare reform that characterizes itself as “an aggressive defender of the rights of individuals to pursue the American dream,” has launched a television ad called “Disney’s Dark Side” that accuses the company of hypocrisy: Although the House of Mouse contends it’s “protecting Florida’s family-friendly image,” IFL argues it’s more concerned with these resorts encroaching on Walt Disney World’s market share.

“The truth?” the TV spot’s narrator says. “Disney’s so-called family-friendly image includes profiting from licensing comic book characters to online casinos.”

That’s certainly true. An online search for “Marvel casino slots” brings up countless results — including, plainly enough, Marvel Slots, which provides information on games featuring Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Captain America, Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four. Blade, Daredevil and Elektra also have their own slots (as you can see in the image above). Of course, it’s not only Marvel: Warner Bros.-owned DC Comics has a deal with Cryptologic for online slots featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Sandman, Watchmen and Green Lantern, among others. There’s also one based on Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.

But neither Warner Bros. nor Dark Horse has a dog, or a resort, in the South Florida casino fight. You can watch the TV spot below.

“DISNEY’S DARK SIDE”: New TV Ad Exposes Disney’s Hypocrisy on Gaming, Doubletalk on Family Values

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2012 — The Institute for Liberty (IFL), a Washington-based advocacy organization, today launched “Disney’s Dark Side,” a television advertisement highlighting the company’s hypocrisy in opposing legislation currently under consideration in the state legislature that would allow for the construction of destination resorts in South Florida while bringing important reforms to Florida gaming laws.

“Disney has taken the public position of being morally opposed to gaming, while quietly profiting from the licensing of cartoon characters to online casinos,” said Andrew Langer, president of The Institute for Liberty. “Disney’s opposition to the construction of new, job-creating destination resorts has nothing to do with protecting Florida’s family-friendly image, and everything to do with protecting its own bottom line and stomping out any potential competition. That goes against the basic principles of free markets.”

Langer continued, “Disney recently laid off 1,400 Florida workers, but is earning billions in profits. Now it’s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby against job-creating private investments, at a time when nearly one million Floridians are out of work.”

“Disney’s Dark Side” Script:

Why is Disney opposed to a $6 billion investment to help jumpstart Florida’s economy?

They say they’re protecting Florida’s family-friendly image.

The truth? Disney’s so-called family-friendly image includes profiting from licensing comic book characters to online casinos.

And while Disney’s shareholders rake in the profits, they’ve cut 1,400 Florida jobs.

Disney isn’t protecting Florida. They’re protecting their bottom line.

Let’s jumpstart Florida’s economy creating tens of thousands of jobs by allowing destination resorts.

The Institute for Liberty is a non-profit policy organization, involved in grassroots activism. It focuses on small business, entrepreneurship, and federal public policy. You can find out more on the web at and



Batman would probably be ok with licensing himself to gambling machines, given how much Wayne gambles, but I think Superman would not like it.

Not to defend Disney, but is is possible that these licensing agreements for Marvel Character Slot machines predate Disney purchasing Marvel? If these agreements were already in place then there isn’t much Disney could do. Remember Universal has a whole Marvel themed area in their Orlando theme park because of this. Disney doesn’t hold the rights for movies for the X-Men and Spider-man because of pre-existing agreements. It is highly plausable that Disney is simply waiting for these agreements to run out.

It’s also entirely possible that there’s a huge world of difference between licensing your characters to be used in on-line gambling and wanting a casino next door to your family friendly theme park.

If the casinos stay in South Florida, it really wouldn’t be a problem. There’s a Hard Rock Casino in Tampa and Tampa is significantly closer to Orlando then any of the big cities in South Florida, like Miami or Fort Lauderdale. That’s at least 4 or 5 hours away. Orlando is the family friendly tourist area and you can make Miami for grown ups.

Its interesting when people automatically go after a company without doing some research. All this person has to do is do a little homework and find out that although MArvel is now owned by Disney it is run as a separate entity and many Marvel characters were licensed before Disney took ownership of them.

just more reasons why Disney and marvel suck-ass. and are Fail, with a capital “F”. we DON’T, “DO NOT” want gambling encouraged in our comic book fan bases.

What about Disney’s “Pleasure Island” section of Downtown Disney, with the various nightclubs? How “family-friendly” was that?

Licensing? Here’s a press release:

LONDON, ENGLAND, May 23, 2010

Disney purchased Marvel in August 2009.

Some PR shows Marvel announcing licensing agreements with United Casino in August 2009.

Regardless: Marvel knows licensing. Licensing usually has a time limit. Once Disney purchased Marvel, I’m sure they reviewed the licensing portfolio for any questionable contracts. Aside from the hypocrisy stated above, slot machine licensing is not uncommon, so long as the slots aren’t attractive to children. I’ve won playing a video slot machine of Star Wars (at the public Las Vegas airport, not in a casino which restricts access to minors), as well as Lord of the Rings (with a video screen above the video slot for bonus rounds, and speakers in the seat for extra oompf).

I would have played “The Wizard of Oz”, but they were too popular with the SKI (Spending Kids’ Inheritance) crowd. Apparently there was a Men In Black slot machine as well (Sony, not Marvel).

I doubt we’ll ever see a slot machine of Disney animated characters. However, Miramax did license “Chicago” for slot machines. (A no-brainer.)

And then there were those “Wayne Casino” chips DC gave out at comics shops… not to mention the various playing card decks. Or the Arkham Asylum Poker Set. (Crazy Eights, anyone?) Or if you’re more inclined: “Cover Girls of the DC Universe Poker Set”.

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