This November a Florida ballot initiative would provide voters the power to block the expansion of casino gambling in the state. Many argued this move would effectively destroy gaming companies’ hopes as well as its long and costly efforts to expand into the Sunshine State. If it is approved, Amendment 3 of the Florida Constitution requires 60 percent state-wide support with any new casinos. This threshold will provide protection to the local hegemony of the Seminole Tribe of Florida that operates gambling establishments under federal law. It will also protect the entertainment giant Walt Disney Co.
Together the two companies donated nearly $36 million to assist in increasing the measure. The two will team up in hopes of pushing the ballot aimed to slow the expansion of gambling in the states. However, many believe this will shut down existing card games and leave people without work.
“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is trying to buy a monopoly,” said Dan Adkins, who chairs Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3, Inc. “Their arguments are all self serving.”
The Walt Disney Company is against any new gambling in the Sunshine State, while the Seminole Tribe, is attempting to avoid more competition to its businesses. Supporters and opponents of Amendment 3 continuously prepared for next month’s election by bombarding with commercials for and against the amendment.
“There’s no question there’s a lot of resources trying to pass Amendment 3,” said former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, who supports the amendment. “It would be safer for Florida if the voters were the ones ultimately making this decision,” Weatherford said.
However, Alexis Winning worries the state could utilize Amendment 3 by putting an end to card games already hosted at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. “Voters are being misled. Their advertising is very deceiving,” said Alexis Winning, spokeswoman for Derby Lane. “It’s about two corporations protecting themselves.” She claims it will result in job layoffs and less tax revenue from gambling to fund education. Opponents of Amendment 3 claim they are being outspent by groups who support the amendment and reached further to social media to get their message out.