Florida Amendment 3: Polls Swing Against Gambling Measure as Opposition Steps Up Fight

Posted on: October 10, 2018, 07:06h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2018, 07:06h.

Supporters of Florida’s Amendment 3 ballot measure are not assured victory, despite a $40 million war chest financed by the mighty Disney Corporation and the state’s sole tribal operator, the Seminoles.

Amendment 3
Amendment 3 would make it impossible for lawmakers to bargain over gambling expansion with the powerful Seminole tribe, potentially costing the state hundreds of millions. (Image: Seminole Hard Rock)

With only a month to go till Florida residents hit the ballot boxes to decide whether to hand voters “the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” the latest poll suggests the measure could fall short of the 60 percent it needs to change the law.

A poll in early September found the 71 percent of Floridians planned to endorse Amendment 3. The latest from the Florida Chamber of Commerce suggests the measure is supported by 54 percent of voters, with 28 percent against, and 18 percent undecided.

The “no” vote also has some pretty big backers, including casino moguls Sheldon Adelson, Phil Ruffin, and Lorenzo Fertitta, plus MGM Resorts International, FanDuel, Florida’s parimutuel greyhound tracks, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TV Blitz

The movement away from “yes” may reflect the fact that two PAC’s have stepped up their offensive in recent weeks, expanding a TV advertising campaign warning Amendment 3 will be bad for Florida’s economy.

As of late September, “Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3” has raised more than $6 million and “Vote NO on 3” has raised $981,832, according to filings to Florida’s Division of Elections.

If approved, Amendment 3 would prevent the legislature from passing laws to expand gambling and from putting an amendment on the ballot to do so. Opponents of the measure warn this will remove lawmakers’ powers to strike new revenue-sharing deals with the Seminole tribe, which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the state each year.

Amendment 3 Would Torpedo Sports Betting

Last week FanDuel urged its Florida-based customers to vote no because a yes vote would make it “virtually impossible” to legalize sports betting and regulate DFS in the state.

Amendment 3 was written to try to deceive you,” wrote. Fan Duel. “It pretends to give voters more power, but the reality is it … makes it more difficult to protect your right to play fantasy sports.”

The PAC supporting the amendment, “Voters in Charge,” has been bankrolled by Disney and the Seminoles since day one. Disney wants to be the main entertainment draw in Florida and has always opposed gambling expansion, while the Seminoles realize Amendment 3 could hand them the monopoly on casino gaming in the state for the foreseeable future.