New polling shows most Floridians want veto power over gambling expansion

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A Florida constitutional amendment giving voters the final say over any gambling expansion in the state is running far ahead of the 60 percent threshold required to pass.

Fresh polling from Voters in Charge, the group advocating approval for Amendment 3 this November, shows 71 percent of likely Florida voters back the initiative. If passed, the amendment would allow voters to determine the fate of expansion of casinos throughout the state.

Right now, state law permits casinos only at tribal facilities, though that restriction is somewhat relaxed in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

If successful, Amendment 3 would bar the Legislature from passing any future laws to expand or restrict casino gambling. Instead, changes would have to be agreed upon by voters with a 60 percent majority.

“We start in a uniquely strong position,” said Voters in Charge President John Sowinski.

“The simplicity of the amendment is its strength,” he added. “Amendment 3 asks the simple question, ‘Who do you trust: Florida voters, or the politicians and the lobbyists who influence them?'”

Hill Research Consultants conducted the survey between July 18 and 24, interviewing 1,029 Florida voters through a mix of mobile phones, landlines, and online surveys.

While some caution about internal polling — Voters in Charge is supporting Amendment 3, after all — there is little doubt these poll numbers bode well for the group. And despite the popularity of the proposal, the campaign is not taking any chances, gearing up for battle with a $30 million media buy to urge voters to say “Yes” in November.

“We are confident,” Sowinski said, “but by no means are we complacent.”

“We anticipate the gambling industry and its lobbyists will fight hard against Amendment 3 and we are ready for that challenge.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


8 comments

  • Hal Lewis

    August 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I guess I am confused… because I want casino gambling and am therefore SUPPORTING the amendment. The legislature has proven that they will NOT pass laws supporting expansion, so this seems to be an easier way to get it done. How is Disney going to stop expansion when 60% of Floridians vote for it? Maybe I’m reading the tea leaves wrong, but I think any such proposed amendment down the road would PASS by more than 60%.

    • Jackson

      August 31, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Hal this means you won’t see gambling expansion in the state for years if ever again. The voters don’t have the ability to expand gambling. This will just be that they have to pass a vote to expand gambling.

  • David

    August 31, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I am against expanded Gambling & gambling in general, even the lottery. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. It is another way to take money out of the pockets of those who can least afford it. It is a lure & a “trap” in the “hopes” of getting out of their financial woes & problems & only deepens their desperation all while stuffing the pockets of a few wealthy casino millionaire or billionaire owners & their affiliates.
    Worse of all the deck is “stacked” against them. The less fortunate are preyed upon for the casino’s profit. Those lost revenues of gamblers should be spent on the betterment of their families such as… basic food & clothing for their children. Rent, utilities & transportation to name a few. This venue, or shall I say “Scheme” widens the gap between “the haves & have not’s”. Can anyone deny this? I thought not. As far as the cry, “the state is losing out on generated revenue”. ie- lottery. Bo-Hoo…Not so much- (2 things) shame on the state that resorts to making profit off the hopes & desperation of the less fortunate or the under resourced. Second those tax monies “lost” at a gambling facilities or the lottery will be spent on things that really matter to the improvement of their families at the local clothing stores retail outlets, utilities, rent, mortgage, autos, etc. No loss of revenue for the state. So don’t even go there. The bottom line is, in the gambling arena “The rich get richer & the poor get poorer” TRUE? Don’t believe it? Just look at the “city of lights” built in the Nevada desert! Yes if you don’t know it’s built in a desert…nothing around it! Do you think it was built on the backs of winning gamblers? Not so much & we all know it! Thousands of families & lives have been (& are being) destroyed for the profiting of a few. We need to be doing all we can to be building up & supporting families, the “backbone of our society. Not sanctioning it’s demise. Gambling chips away at the moral fiber of the family & ultimately society. Prostitution, drugs, drug dealing & drug deaths are prolific & downplayed. Think about it. If were really going to asses the gambling issue don’t be so naive to disregard the facts to get to your biased opinion…”let’s do the right thing.”

    • John Nosum

      August 31, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      We should then stop all alcohol sales, and tobacco sales as well. Those are bad for people.

      Why not just have everyone ask David what she be allowed, as he feels he is the one with the superior morality.

      • Steve P

        September 1, 2018 at 10:11 am

        Excellent Point & Post

  • John

    August 31, 2018 at 11:38 am

    There are inaccuracies in this article.
    “Right now, state law permits casinos only at tribal facilities, though that restriction is somewhat relaxed in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.” – Wrong, the addition of certain pari-mutuel facilities was specifically authorized in the law.

    “If successful, Amendment 3 would bar the Legislature from passing any future laws to expand or restrict casino gambling.” – Also wrong, the Amendment would require voter approval of any expansion, however doesn’t limit the legislatures ability to restrict or regulate.

  • Gregory Gelyon

    August 31, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    The only ones that will get expanded gambling will be the Seminoles. They already believe that the Indian framework allows them to have Sports Betting at their casinos without any type of approval. Then they only have to bribe the legislator in a new compact to get dice and roulette.

    Make no mistake this amendment is about MONOPOLIES.

  • Jamie

    August 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Or viewed another way this is a great avenue for the Seminole Tribe to have a COMPLETE monopoly on casinos that already exist in Florida at a greatly discounted rate (please check the rate they pay v. parimutuels) and the citizens of Florida will NEVER have any vote on their gaming–read the amendment closely-tribal gaming is excluded.

    Don’t be so sure that these people are looking out for the best interest of low income Floridians–the groups that have donated the most to Voters in Charge are the Seminole Tribe and Disney.

Comments are closed.


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