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Second group forms to fight gambling amendment

A second political committee has registered to oppose a proposed state constitutional amendment requiring voter approval of new gambling.

Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 registered on Wednesday, Division of Elections records show.

It’s chaired by Dan Adkinslongtime head of Hallandale Beach’s former Mardi Gras Casino and Race Track. The group’s formation paperwork and initial campaign finance information were not available online; Adkins could not be immediately reached. 

Amendment 3, backed by Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, aims at limiting gambling’s expansion in the state. The amendment would “ensure that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” the ballot summary says.

Last week, the “Vote NO on 3” committee registered, chaired by South Florida’s Isadore “Izzy” Havenick, whose family operates Magic City Casino in Miami and Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Racing & Poker in Bonita Springs.

“It shows how everybody is concerned that someone is trying to put us all out of business,” said Havenick, who added he did not know who else was behind the new committee.

Adkins and Hartman & Tyner, the property management firm that owned the Mardi Gras for over 40 years, recently settled dueling lawsuits against each other.

As Florida Politics reported in March, Adkins accused H&T of lying to him that he’d be paid “millions of dollars” upon sale of the company’s gambling businesses in Florida, West Virginia and Michigan.

H&T countered that the 60-year-old Adkins “engag(ed) in self-dealing, corporate waste, and gross mismanagement.”

The facility now is owned by billionaire real estate investor Jeffrey Soffer and was rebranded as “The Big Easy Casino.”

Gambling regulators last month granted Soffer’s request for a slot machine license. That license was approved May 2 – one day after news that Soffer had closed on a $12.5 million deal to buy the property.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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