Jax Chamber backs bestbet, balks at Amendment 3
Bestbet doubles down on slots hopes.

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Gambling concern bestbet is one of Jacksonville’s most politically connected businesses. Its interests were boosted Thursday when the local Chamber of Commerce weighed in against Amendment 3.

Per a media release, passing the amendment “will eliminate local voter control and could retroactively unauthorize existing gambling, putting hundreds of jobs in Jacksonville at risk.”

The “unnecessary” amendment “erode[s] home rule and weaken the authorities for communities to make decisions on their own,” the release continues.

“This is not an issue that merits an amendment to the Florida Constitution,” JAX Alliance Chair Dan Murphy said. “The cities and counties across Florida all have different needs. Amendment 3 requires the entire state to weigh in on local matters and this is bad policy for Florida.”

Bestbet President Jamie Shelton has been vocal about this issue also.

“Amendment 3 has been put on the ballot by the Seminole Indians (who have the casinos under federal law in South Florida) and Disney (which wants to limit any competition in Florida). They are both trying to use the amendment process to eliminate and prevent competition in Florida,” Shelton wrote in a recent letter to employees.

“A vote NO is best for Florida and does not reward the narrow special interests of Disney and the Seminole Indians at the expense of everyone else,” Shelton adds.

Shelton and bestbet play aggressively in Jacksonville politics, with contributions to more incumbents than not. Shelton’s wife Ali Korman Shelton worked for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry in a senior role early in his administration.

Shelton’s most ambitious spend: $2 million on a referendum to bring slot machines to bestbet.

Though the referendum carried, the state denied bestbet’s desire to add slots months later.

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


One comment

  • Michael

    October 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Perfect problem makers – The Shelton couple & Dan Murphy. Backing a company (Best Bet) who likes to disregard the law and continue to have table games (Designated Player) that were deemed illegal by a Federal court. They also want to jeopardize billions of dollars that stem from a proposed compact with the Seminole Tribe.

    The claim that hundreds of jobs will be lost is a complete farce. Maybe if they create an actual list of job positions lost and prove that those positions are filled with actual employees and show that none of the table games are illegal they might get a leg to stand on. It does not take hundreds of people to run a few slot machines. They have no hotel to make up part of those hundreds. It’s all total B.S.

    No pun intended but all of the racetracks are beating a dead horse.

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