Elections

What is Amendment 3 on the Florida ballot? It affects gambling expansion

Amendment 3, proposed by Voters in Charge — a political committee largely financed by the Seminole Tribe and Disney — would give voters the exclusive right to authorize casino gambling expansion across Florida, including slot machines and other electronic betting games.

Authorization to expand gambling currently rests with the Legislature. Except for some facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, casino games and slot machines are limited to Seminole Tribe facilities in most of the state. While the Legislature has tried in recent years to allow for more expansion, negotiations have failed particularly in the House, which is more opposed to gambling than the Senate.

The amendment would give power to the voters but, in theory, would make it harder to expand gambling. The process of expanding gambling by voter decisions could be long, and would therefore keep competition low and ensure a more “family friendly” tourism environment, hence the financial support from the Seminole Tribe and Disney.

Voters in Charge contends that politicians and lobbyists have been deciding the fate of casino-style gambling for “far too long.”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce supports the amendment.

Opponents to the initiative argue that it is unclear whether the amendment would apply retroactively and what effect if any, it would have on previously authorized gambling.

In order to become law, each of the amendments on the ballot must be approved by a 60 percent vote.

A vote “yes” means Florida voters would retain the exclusive right to decide on authorizing casino gambling in the state. A vote “no” means the law would remain the same, and both the state and the voters have authority to authorize casino gambling.

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