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Amendment 3 foes pour money into ballot fight

A political committee raised $7.75 million during a week-long period as it tries to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that could make it harder to expand gambling in Florida, according to a newly filed finance report.

The contributions were made between Oct. 13 and Oct. 19 to a committee known as Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3.

Money came from a variety of gambling interests, such as $2 million from MGM Resorts International, $1 million from Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, Inc. and $250,000 from Tampa Bay Downs, Inc., according to the report posted on the state Division of Elections website.

The committee, which had raised an overall total of $14.69 million as of Oct. 19, also spent nearly $8.89 million during the week-long period, with almost all the money going for advertising-related expenses.

The committee is fighting a proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot that would change the Florida Constitution and give voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state. It would require voter approval of casino-style games in the future and effectively reduce the power of the Legislature and governor to decide gambling-related issues.

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The measure, which appears on the ballot as Amendment 3, has been heavily backed by Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Disney has been a longtime opponent of casino gambling, while the Seminole Tribe already operates lucrative casinos in the state.

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Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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