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Florida Supreme Court Scrutinizes Amendment to Ban Greyhound Racing

August 29th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
The State Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday morning on whether to keep a constitutional amendment banning greyhound racing on the November ballot.
Amendment 13 would end greyhound racing in the state by 2020, but allow tracks to continue offering slots and card rooms.
Breeders argued before the State Supreme Court that the ballot language misleads voters by convincing them the changes are all about the dogs.
“If this passes there will be in effect, a vote for free standing casinos in the state of Florida,” said Major Harding, an attorney representing the Committee to Support Greyhounds.
Supporters of the amendment say if anything the amendment will reduce gambling in the state.
“Nothing is expanded, something is eliminated. Dog racing,” said Stephen Turner with the Committee to Protect Dogs.
Paramutual facilities have only been allowed to operate card rooms and slot machines if they also run greyhounds.
There have been attempts in the Legislature to allow the card rooms to operate independently for years.
Amendment 13 was taken off the ballot by a lower court earlier this month.
The ruling found the ballot summary didn’t inform voters Floridians could still legally place bets on out of state dog races.
The State argues the amendment clearly states the amendment only ends live racing within the state.
“Not only do voters understand that under this amendment races in other states are going to be unaffected, but they also are going to read what the language says,” said Deputy Solicitor General Jordan Pratt.
After the Supreme Court hearing both sides felt confident the court would rule in their favor.
A ruling is likely to come before the November election, but when trying to predict how the court will act there are no safe bets.
Most Elections Supervisors plan to send their ballots to the printer by September 4th at the latest.
If the court hasn’t ruled by then, Amendment 13 will still appear on the ballot.

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