Future of Casinos in Florida To Be Decided By Voters as Amendment 3 in November
By Space Coast Daily // January 23, 2018
Voter Control of Gambling Amendment
Voters in Florida are being given the option to make decisions about the future of gambling in the state. Under a proposed constitutional amendment, Florida voters can stop politicians from legalizing casino style gambling in Florida.
This is the latest in several conservative amendments to the law, being discussed in the sunshine state.
State election officials stated that the “Voter Control of Gambling Amendment,” is slated to go before voters as Amendment 3 in November, owing to the efforts of over 1.1 million Florida citizens who signed petitions for a vote on the matter.
While this may leave the gamblers in Florida rather forlorn, our good old neighbors offer convenient alternatives with Canadian casinos online, a great online option if the land based casinos in Florida are disallowed. The amendment has provoked reactions from all sides, with proponents of the industry claiming that it might result in a chilling effect for the industry.
A Tough Fight Ahead
The amendment required over 800,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, which was secured by voters in a remarkably short time. Last year, the Supreme Court of Florida had approved the ballot language, and consequently this proposal will require the approval of 60% voters in November in order to be passed.
If the majority is achieved, Amendment 3 will give voters the exclusive authority to determine whether casino gambling is to be allowed in the state or not. Hence the changed position would require the approval of voters to allow games such as slots, and table games in the future. However, whether voters will be able to dodge the allure of multi-million dollar jackpots remains to be seen.
The move against gambling is all set to be a highly contested affair, pitting the members of the State’s gambling industry against the opponents of casino-gaming in the State. Each side is expected to spend ‘millions of dollars’ in order to convince voters about the amendment, as per John Sowinski, the Chairman of the political committee which spearheaded the amendment.
“We didn’t spend what it took to make it to the ballot to leave things to change,” said Sowinski to the News Service of Florida.
“I would suspect that it’s a significant eight-figure campaign that we will wage to support it, and if anyone wanted to come after it, I would suspect the like.”
Sowinski’s committee has already gathered over $6.5 million in cash and kind, of which $4.35 million was contributed by Disney Worldwide Services, and Seminoles provided around $1.3 million.
Consequences for the Gambling Industry
Industry representatives in Florida expressed their displeasure with the amendment, with fears about the impact of the amendment on the growth of the gambling business in the state, as well as its impact on the nation’s economy. As per Izzy Havenick, an operator of a dog-track in Naples, the change would result in a shift from legislature based regulation to citizen-based regulation, with the approval of a majority of the citizens becoming necessary for any kind of changes to grow his business.
The effect of the amendment is such that voters across the state would have to approve the growth of gambling activities even in individual counties. Smaller gambling establishments in the state might not possess the resources to create campaigns to gain traction for their proposals, according to critics of the amendment.
Come November, it should be interesting to see how the issue plays out, and whether Floridians are able to overcome the powerful gambling lobby in the state.
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