Jacksonville slots referendum now has $2M behind it

slot machines

Another news cycle brings another financial milestone for “Families for Safety and Prosperity,” the political committee looking to bring slot machines to bestbet Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Greyhound Racing put another $500,000 into the slots referendum marketing effort on Oct. 27, bringing its total contribution to $2 million.

Of the $2 million, the committee has spent $1,725,751.

Of that spend, roughly $264,000 went to mailers. Multi-media advertising occupied another $1.3 million. And $100,000 was spent on digital advertising.

Though public polling on the measure is non-existent and private polling is not being shared, the committee continues to spend aggressively, committing $300,000 to marketing on Oct. 31.

The slots referendum is the second Duval County referendum of the year with at least $2 million in dedicated resources.

The “Yes for Jacksonville” effort saw a variety of donors, most of them institutional stakeholders, pushing the pension reform referendum’s coffers over the $2.1 million mark.

That referendum required considerable voter education, as voters in tax-averse Duval County had to be convinced of the wisdom of extending a 1/2 cent infrastructure sales tax past its expected sunset date in 2030.

The extension was intended to provide actuarial certainty that there would be a dedicated funding source for the nearly $3 billion of unfunded liability across Jacksonville’s public pension plans.

The slots referendum hasn’t required such marketing; resistance has not manifested, in part because the measure has been marketed as “something we all can agree on,” a way to expand entertainment for consenting adults, bringing new jobs to Jacksonville and a potential tax windfall of $5.7 million (1.5 percent of anticipated slots revenue).

Bestbet Jacksonville, which hopes to host the slot machines, has been in the news recently for a state ruling prohibiting “designated-player” poker games.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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