In the U.S., midterm elections are going to be held in November in a number of states. There is a wide range of topics to be covered, but one of the most contentious is the subject of gambling. Nowhere is this more evident than in the state of Florida, which is moving toward possibly making a major change regarding how new gambling operations are approved in the state. At this point, it’s still an uphill battle for both sides of the challenge.
Under current laws, the state’s lawmakers decide to approve or deny a request for a new gambling operation. Next month, voters will take to the polls to vote on Amendment 3, which stipulates that the decision be moved to the voters. Every new gambling operation would be decided by a popular vote among the Sunshine State’s residents.
The amendment has significant support. Disney Worldwide Services, owners of Florida’s Walt Disney World, and the Seminole Indian tribe, which owns the Seminole Hard Rock and other gambling operations, want the bill to pass and have invested heavily to try and make it happen. They have donated approximately $36 million to a lobby group, Voters In Charge, in an effort to change the current status quo.
Those efforts may not be enough, though. Recent polls have shown that Amendment 3 is supported by only 54% of the population and it needs at least 60% to pass. 28% of those polled said that they won’t support it, so the vote will ultimately be decided by the remaining 18% who are still on the fence.
Opponents are stepping up their efforts, which could spell bad news for the measure, and serious loss of cash for Disney and the Seminole tribe. The opponents have launched new campaigns that include TV spots showing why the amendment would be detrimental to the state’s economy, as well as to schools.
Compared to the $36 million contributed by Disney and the Seminoles, the opposition’s financial supply is much lower. One of the political action committees that wants things to stay as they are, Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3, has attracted just over $6 million and another, Vote NO on 3, has received $981,832, according to recent filings. That shows that the win might not always go to those with the deepest pockets.