No Casinos is launching a new statewide ad campaign to warn Floridians about the new Seminole Compact, which opens sports betting the group says illegally expands gambling in violation of the Florida Constitution.
The Orlando-based anti-gambling group argues the deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis late last month and could be finalized during a Special Legislative Session starting May 17, lets “politicians and gambling lobbyists, instead of voters, authorize a massive expansion of gambling” in the Sunshine State.
“Not politicians. Not lobbyists. You,” the ad leads off. “That’s the law. But gambling lobbyists want politicians to break it.”
No Casinos specifically cite the Amendment 3 constitutional mandate passed in 2018 by 72% of Florida voters. The amendment gives Floridians “the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida.”
Despite that explicit provision, the group says an expansion of sports betting could turn every cellphone into a “slot machine.”
“Their plan: Casinos. Sports betting. Even slot machines on cell phones,” the ad continues. “It’ll be like ‘internet cafes’ all over again.”
“The only thing missing? Your approval,” the ad concludes with a call to action. “Voter approval of gambling is the law. Tell your legislator: Don’t break it.”
The details of the 30-year compact would support non-tribal game rooms now running at pari-mutuel tracks, “decoupling” them from a requirement to hold pari-mutuel operations. In exchange, the Tribe would expand its operations to include online sports betting.
Florida would get revenue sharing starting at about $500 million a year from the Seminoles.
“Voters were crystal clear that they wanted the final say on gambling expansion in Florida, and we’re letting them know that this proposed compact is a blatant violation of the constitution and the will of the people,” No Casinos President John Sowinski said in a statement.
The ad — titled “People, Not Politicians” — will run both online and on cable TV in key markets statewide. No Casinos has already vowed to challenge the compact in court.