Marc Dunbar fires back after latest John Sowinski salvo


Gaming industry lobbyist Marc Dunbar is asking No Casinos head John Sowinski whether he’s “ready to end the games.”

Dunbar’s latest “open letter” to Sowinski, released Monday, is the third in an exchange between the two over the proposed “Voter Control of Gambling” constitutional amendment, also known as “Amendment 3.” 

It’s backed by Voters In Charge, a political committee that Sowinski also chairs, and aims to give statewide voters sole authority to approve future expansions of gambling in the state.

Dunbar took issue with “edits” of his oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court that Sowinski posted on Twitter, saying he’s “further distorting the facts.”

Sowinski had argued that the amendment, if passed by 60 percent or more of voters in November, would retroactively undo, or “de-authorize,” any gambling expansion approved by state lawmakers between now and then.

Lawmakers recently considered – but are now silent – on a Special Session on gambling after they failed to pass any related legislation this past Regular Session.

“You obviously missed or intentionally glossed over the comments of your own lawyer who stated quite succinctly: ‘First of all, this amendment is not retroactive as has been suggested in some of the papers,’ ” Dunbar wrote. 

He then asks Sowinski, “Will (you) make yourself available publicly to clarify for Florida’s voters your organization’s position on Amendment 3 and your desire for its impact on existing Florida businesses, their employees and the government services they help support?”

“Voters deserve a clear picture,” he adds. “… To save you time and ink on your next response, a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer will suffice. We can work the details out later as to the forum for the discussion if the winds of courage blow favorably in your direction.”

The latest letter and previous ones are below. Previous coverage is here and here.

Jim Rosica

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 [email protected].


  • Jeff

    April 10, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Mr. Sowinski, Please don’t be so disingenuous and tell the public the truth about your amendment. Clearly your goal is to kill the 100 year old pari-mutuel industry. An industry that has been a good partner of the state, has employed thousands of people and is a part of Florida’s history. This is truly a David vs Goliath battle. I’ve heard your self-righteous anti gaming speeches which have a total lack of integrity due to the fact you never mention who signs your checks. Your main benefactor, Disney is one of the largest corporations in the world and is only concerned about becoming larger. And while you speak of the evils of gaming it don’t stop you from taking money from the Tribe, which is no small player in the gaming world with over 200 locations in 75 countries, 26 hotels and 12 casinos. The pari-mutuels were here before Disney and the tribe would not be in the gaming business in Florida without them. But now since they’re no longer needed they want to help you put them out of business. It would not only cost thousands of jobs, which are not just a number but are people, it would deny the citizens of Florida the access to this kind of entertainment and would result in lost revenue to the state. I have no doubt your only concern is your paycheck. Our only hope is the legislators will do the right thing, but I know the cards and money are in your favor.

    • Usual Suspects

      April 10, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Wow, this comment from “Jeff” is about as misleading, gaslighting, contrived and disingenuous as Dunbar himself. Epic arrogance!!

  • Jeff

    April 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Well “Usual Suspects” it’s easy and lazy for you to throw out insults without any facts to back them up. So you either suffer from “Epic Arrogance” yourself or are just totally uneducated on the issue. Mr. Sowinski heads a group called No Casinos, self-explanatory, and apparently you have never heard him speak. He says he is worried about Florida’s family friendly image and uses Atlantic City and Vegas as examples. Florida could never be anything like either, there is no Boardwalk or Strip, the pari-mutuels are spread all across the state and most of them you would have to go look for to find them. And like it or not they are a part of Florida’s history and we are already a gaming state, Tribal casinos, pari-mutuels and the Lottery. Disney is his largest benefactor, and if you believe they’re worried about the pari-mutuels damaging Florida’s image then you are naïve. Disney is not concerned that people will go to a gaming facility and not to their theme parks, it is the conference center revenue they want to protect, it’s the money. Mr. Sowinski also talks about the evils of gaming but has taken a lot of money from the tribe, it is pubic record so you may want to look it up so you don’t embarrass yourself. Maybe he feels the end justifies the means. And the fact is his amendment would take away much needed revenue from the pari-mutuels and result in a loss of jobs. There is nothing here that disingenuous or misleading, these are the facts. It’s not too much to ask someone to be honest when they are promoting something that will effect so many people’s lives.

Comments are closed.


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