HomeGambling RoundupPoll Shows Florida’s Amendment 3 Will Pass

Poll Shows Florida’s Amendment 3 Will Pass


According to a new poll conducted by Associated Industries of Florida, 70 percent of likely voters will vote yes on November 6 for Amendment 3, Voter Control of Gambling in Florida. Only 15 percent said they planned to vote against it, and the remaining 15 percent were undecided. The proposal, which requires 60 percent approval to pass, would give Florida voters—not legislators–the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state. It excludes tribal casinos.

Previously, a poll commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found 54 percent of voters supported the amendment, 28 percent opposed it and 18 percent were undecided.

The AIF poll was conducted Oct. 8-10 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. No sample size was given.

As of October 5, Voters In Charge, the political committee sponsoring the amendment, had raised $36.75 million. Disney Worldwide Services gave more than $19.5 million of that amount and the Seminole Tribe of Florida gave $17.8 million. The majority of the remainder of the group’s funding came from No Casinos, a committee chaired by John Sowinski. Voters in Charge has $6.17 million cash on hand according to state records.

Also as of October 5, two groups opposing the amendment, Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 and Vote NO on 3, have raised a total of $7 million. The majority of support for Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 has come from West Flagler Associates, the parent company of Magic City Casino and the Flagler Dog Track in Miami. The group also received $1.4 million from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It has nearly $4.2 million cash on hand.

The National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers donated to Citizens for the Truth, and so did the Miami Dolphins, under the name South Florida Sod, which gave $500,000. MGM Resorts International and other horse and greyhound racetrack operators also donated.

Other opponents include several Florida lawmakers, such as state Rep. Clay Yarborough, who said gambling “is taking up a lot of time each legislative session whenever we have these proposals put in front of us. We need to be focused more now on important issues like funding greater school safety measures and mental health programs and public safety.”

Another Amendment 3 opponent is Jacksonville cardroom Bestbet President Jamie Shelton, who said, “This is more toward me and what I do here in Northeast Florida. It creates a monopoly for the Seminole Tribe in South Florida, using your constitution as a vehicle to create that.” Shelton said if the proposal passes, his operation would lose 200 jobs and $250 million in tax revenue that goes to education would be lost over the next 10 years. The Florida chapter of the American Legion also opposes Amendment 3, claiming it could affect charitable gaming, like raffles or pull tabs.

If it passes, the amendment would require any future gambling changes to be voted on as a citizens initiative. To be placed on the ballot, they are required to have a number of verified petition signatures equal to 8 percent of the votes cast in the last presidential election; that number also must equal 8 percent of the district wide vote in at least 14 of the state’s 27 congressional district to avoid targeting voters in just one district. For example, Voters In Charge had to get 766,200 verified petition signatures for Amendment 3 to be placed on the November 6 ballot.

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