Florida Voters Want a Say on New Gaming Compact

Florida voters want to have a say on the future of Florida’s gaming as lawmakers consider a new compact deal with the Seminole Tribe.

Florida Voters Want to Weigh on a New Gaming Compact Deal

Florida gaming will soon take the lawmakers’ focus, as they will consider the new compact with the Seminole Tribe, expanding its operations and offering sports wagering and Florida voters want to have a say on the matter.

According to a poll commissioned by No Casinos, a group of opponents of a gambling expansion in the state, and conducted by McLaughlin & Associates found out that 76% of the voters want to have the final decision on the deal, and only 13% say it should be left to the Legislature and the government to decide.

The poll of 800 likely Florida voters found the following:  

  • 44% think Florida has the right amount of gaming already.
  • 13%, too much
  • 16%, too little
  • 26% were unsure

Although the compact promises a swift economic windfall, No Casinos argue that it may not be entirely legal. According to the group’s poll, voters should have the final word.

No Casinos Group against DeSantis Compact Deal

No Casinos’ main target is the Gaming Compact, signed by the Seminoles and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Opponents fear it would give the tribe exclusive control of sports wagering in Florida. Casinos and pari-mutuel racing are now tied, and the racing tracks could continue to operate game rooms without running races. The tribe would expand its operations on non-tribal lands, and it would pay Florida more than $500 million in license fees.

According to the group, the deal violates Amendment 3, which requires any new casino gambling to be approved by voters and have the US Department of Interior sign off.

No Casinos is the group that initiated the 2018 Amendment in the first place and said that the agreement “violates the letter and spirit.”

According to John Sowinski, founding partner at Consensus Communications, more gambling in Florida is not beneficial for the economy and the communities. He said that Florida residents understand that the state Constitution mandates voter control.

The Deal Promises Florida Billions in State Revenue

Lawmakers will consider the agreement during a special session starting May 17. If the legislature approves the deal, Florida residents will still have to wait for the changes, and the US Department of Interior would still have to sign off. According to the Tribe and DeSantis, the deal could bring billions in state revenue.

Currently, the tribal Hard Rock casinos offer roulette and craps. It’s a hub for mobile sports betting in the state.

Sen. Travis Hutson, who will carry out the legislative aspects of the agreement, stated that it would become a free market as to where customers want to place their bets.

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