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Voter Control Gambling Amendment Gathering Signatures

May 9th, 2016 by flanews

Gambling regulations in the state, and whether or not casinos and gaming expansion should happen, are yearly battles in the legislature. But as Matt Galka tells us, there’s a push to make sure voters are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to whether or not Florida rolls the dice on more games of chance.

Around and around it goes.  The question: should Florida expand gambling…including adding Las Vegas style casinos. The answer – not an easy one.

Legislation has failed for the past four years that overhauls state gambling laws.  Now a group wants to put the decision into voters hands.

We called John Sowinski – the man in charge of the Voter Control of Gambling in Florida ballot initiative.

“We think it’s what voters in Florida, whether they support more gambling or not, really want is to have the voters put in charge of this question,” he said.

Sowinski also heads up the anti-gaming group No Casinos.

“Look at the last five years, the amount of time and energy and intellectual capital and political capital that have been spent on the issue of casino gambling in the state. It’s ridiculous, and it’s because there’s a very well healed industry that persists, and will continue to want more and more and more,” he said.

But a case brought on by this racetrack in rural Gadsden County about 30 minutes away from Florida’s Capitol could change everything for the state’s gambling laws.

A referendum passed in 2012 that would have allowed slot machines at the rural racetrack. The issue is whether or not the county needs legislative approval for the slots.  The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case next month.

The Attorney General has asked the state Supreme Court to review the ballot initiative’s validity – it’s a routine move when a measure gets enough signatures. The group still needs around 600 thousand signatures to qualify for the 2018 ballot. The state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Gadsden County case on June 7th.

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