Expanded gambling ballot initiative may be put before Florida voters

In Florida, a group opposed to the expansion of gambling has reportedly announced that it has collected enough signatures to have a special ballot initiative placed before voters at the southern state’s next midterm elections in the autumn.

According to a Wednesday report from the local Sun-Sentinel newspaper, the Voters In Charge organization revealed that it has amassed over 800,000 signatures to have its Voter Control of Gambling Amendment, which is also known as Amendment 3, included on the November 6 ballot.

If subsequently included on the upcoming ballot and passed by 60% of Florida voters, the newspaper reported that the Voter Control of Gambling Amendment would require lawmakers to gain an identical majority at the polls before ratifying any future form of expanded gaming legislation.

The Sun-Sentinel additionally reported that the Voters In Charge group has relied on The Walt Disney Company for the largest chunk of its funding although the casino-operating Seminole Tribe of Florida has purportedly donated the second-largest amount.

“The Voter Control of Gambling Amendment puts Florida’s future in voters’ hands when it comes to gambling,” reads a statement on the website for Voters In Charge. “For far too long, gambling interests have flooded Florida’s political system with campaign contributions and lobbyists. It is time to restore the time-honored standard of requiring voter approval for any casino gambling.”

The newspaper moreover reported that the revelation from Voters In Charge came on the same day as the Florida State Senate’s Regulated Industries Committee approved proposed legislation that would cut the tax on slots from 35% to 25% and shield daily fantasy sports operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings from current regulations on gaming.

The sponsor of this measure, Florida State Senator Travis Hutson, reportedly explained that his Senate Bill 840 proposal would also legalize designated player or ‘banked’ games such as blackjack across the state while giving horse and dog tracks the option to do away with races while keeping their slots.

However, the Sun-Sentinel explained that the Republican’s proposal faces ‘an uphill battle’ to become the law of the land with only the portion covering daily fantasy sports so far having a companion measure in the Florida House of Representatives.

“The Florida House [of Representatives] is working on a bill as we speak and will put something out in the next couple weeks,” an optimistic Hutson reportedly told the newspaper on Wednesday.

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