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Gambling industry ponies up to fight Amendment 3

Faced with a proposed constitutional amendment that could make it harder to expand gambling in Florida, the gambling industry early this month put another $1.25 million into a political committee fighting the November ballot measure, according to a newly filed finance report.

The money was contributed from Sept. 4 to Sept. 7 to a committee known as Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3, Inc. Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, Inc. each contributed $500,000, while the South Florida Racing Association contributed $250,000.

The committee, which started in July, had raised $3.52 million as of Sept. 7 and had spent $91,868, the report shows.

The committee opposes a proposed constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 3, that has been heavily backed by Disney Worldwide Services, Inc., and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

If approved by 60 percent of voters, the proposed amendment 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.

Disney has been a longtime opponent of casino gambling in Florida, while the Seminole Tribe already operates lucrative casinos.

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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