Of interest to Nova Scotia snowbirds who go South to gamble is a new amendment in the gambling regulation of the state of Florida that aims to control the expansion of the gambling activities by giving the people the right to vote to authorize casino gambling, reports the website Nyecasino.ninja. “This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution,” – reads the amendment.
The “Voter Control of Gambling Amendment”, as it is titled, is supported by Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. These companies, along with those fighting the amendment are expected to spend millions of dollars trying to sway the movement in their direction. “We didn’t spend what it took to make it to the ballot to leave things to chance. 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,” – commented John Sowinski, chairman of the Voters in Charge.
Some of the representatives from the gambling industry have criticized the amendment and emphasized its negative effects on the business activity. Izzy Havenick, an owner of dog tracks in Miami and Naples commented: “I think it will have a huge impact on our industry, because as opposed to the Legislature regulating us, we’ll need 60 percent of the residents of Florida to regulate us in the future. And, as the most regulated business in the state, that just makes anything we want to do to grow our business in the future more difficult.”
Nick Iarossi, who is a lobbyist representing gambling companies also outlined the negative consequences of the amendment, saying: “The fear that they all have is that, if this No Casinos amendment passes in November, we will never have that opportunity without a statewide approval to add new product, whether it be slots or otherwise. And to try to get that approval statewide when you have Disney and the Seminole Tribe with their monopoly putting money in against any type of expansion you place on the ballot, it’s going to be impossible to get those votes with the 60 percent threshold.”
A new committee forms that will counter the gambling control amendment
A new political committee, which will be called “Vote NO on 3” has been formed with the purpose to fight the new amendment. It will be chaired by Izzy Havenick mentioned above. “Look, we have a very big target on our back. The pari-mutuels and the ancillary businesses that work with us provide a lot of jobs and tax revenue to the state and to local communities. We have to defend ourselves,” – she commented in an interview.