Mickey Mouse doesn’t want Floridians to gamble. At least, that is the takeaway from reports that Disney Worldwide Services continues to dump money into bills that would allow gambling to expand in the Sunshine State.
Disney, as well as the Seminole Tribe of Florida, have each recently put $5 million into the “Voters In Charge” political action committee (PAC), a group established to support a state constitutional amendment prohibiting widespread gambling expansion. That amendment, called Amendment 3, will appear on voters’ ballots in this coming November’s general election.
To date, Disney—a longtime opponent to casino gambling—has now contributed about $14.6 million to support the ballot entry. This is even more than the Seminole tribe, which operates a series of casinos in the state, including the famed Seminole Hard Rock casino. The tribe has donated a little more than $11.7 million to the cause.
Voters In Charge now has around $20 million on hand, according to a report filed on August 3. The ballot proposal needs to be approved by 60% or more of the voters if it is to be accepted. If approved, it would rewrite the Florida Constitution and give all Florida voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling.”
Going forward, voters would have to approve all casino-style games. This means that the power of the state legislature and governor would be greatly reduced and make gambling a true democratically decided proposition.
Voters In Charge is facing a difficult battle. Two other PACs, Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 and Vote NO on 3, have been pushing for the amendment to be squashed come November—and they both reportedly have some powerful gambling money behind them.
Some believe that the passage of the amendment could be detrimental to the growth of the gambling industry in the state, which could mean a stifling of employment opportunities. Isadore Havenick, who is behind Miami’s Magic City Casino and the Greyhound Racing and Poker facility in Bonita Springs, told the Florida Politics media outlet recently, “The pari-mutuels and the ancillary businesses that work with us provide a lot of jobs and tax revenue to the state and to local communities. We have to defend ourselves.”