Summary: Amendment 3 and Amendment 13 were passed in Florida, making major changes to the gambling industry of the state.
This week, the mid-term elections took place, with several states considering changes to their gambling industries. In the mix was Florida, with two amendments up for consideration. Both were approved by voters, creating new changes to the overall Florida gambling industry as well as greyhound racing.
With this amendment, voters were considering the Voter Approval of Casino Gambling Initiative. A total of 64.4% of the voters in the state approved the measure, which will eventually put any decision involving casino gambling changes in the state in the hands of the voters.
Currently, lawmakers were able to make changes without public approval. The Seminole Tribe has a monopoly when it comes to casino gaming and they pushed heavily to see this amendment passed. The group along with Disney, hoping to maintain their stronghold in the tourism sector, spend over $20 million to try and lobby voters to choose yes.
While it sounds good to put the decision into the hands of the voters, it will make it much more difficult to make changes if the state wants to expand the gambling industry. Take for example online gambling. For Florida to begin online casino gaming, the state would have to first gain voter approval. If the majority does not approve, then the consideration of such an expansion would end.
The second amendment to make changes in the gambling industry, amendment 13 will see greyhound racing end in the state. There are 17 total dog tracks that will soon be out of business, which leaves a ton of dogs without a home. People are now wondering what will happen to the greyhounds now that the tracks will be shut down.
Amendment 13 requires that the dog tracks shut down service by the last day of December 2020. In the language of the measure, there were no provisions in place to care for the greyhound dogs. Groups opposing of the measure did their best to provide voters with the information so that it could be seen that help is going to be needed to provide the dogs a home.
According to Greyhound Pets of America Emerald Coast, a group that helps retired racing dogs find homes, when the tracks are out of service, there will be 8,000 to 15,000 dogs that will need a home. Groups are coming together to help, but more will need to be done in 2019. Foster families will need to be found along with adopters and sponsors. Money will be needed in order to expedite this process.
These changes in Florida could have major consequences that were seemingly left unknown to the average voter. Amendment 3 places the majority of gaming at the helm of the Seminole Tribe, making it difficult for any competition to take place in the state. Amendment 13 will see issues in the future as the tracks shut down and thousands of animals have no where to go.
It will be interesting to see how these changes affect the state in the coming years. Florida may soon fall behind when it comes to gambling as they are unable to get started offering sports betting or online gaming options due to the need for voter approval, while other states begin to reap the benefits of what additional gaming can provide.