Casino Watch Focus reported that the legislation being pushed by the Genting Group and others to legalize mega-resort casinos died in the legislature during this years session. The leadership in Florida was strong and outspoken against expanded gambling. They were representative of their constituents as well as a voice of economic and social reason. Now, The Miami Herald is reporting that the casinos will attempt to go circumvent the legislature and go directly before Florida voters:
After failing to persuade the Florida Legislature to pass a bill to open South Florida to mega resort casinos, gambling interests have taken the first steps to bring the issue directly to voters in 2014.
A political committee under the name of “New Jobs and Revenues for Florida” was created April 10 with the purpose of promoting a “statewide constitutional initiative re gaming.
The only group so far that has expressed an interest in conducting a petition drive to bypass lawmakers and go directly to voters is the Genting Group, the Malaysian-based conglomerate that has kept a low profile since a House committee knocked its chances off the legislative agenda in mid-session.
The petition process will take some time and Florida residents can have a big impact in stopping the measure before it gets off the ground. The group behind this initiative petition will need to gather a significant amount of votes. The Miami Herald explains:
The petition process requires that the organization get petitions signed by eight percent of the voters in the last presidential election to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot. The proposal must then be approved by 60 percent of the voters.
That’s a heavy lift, especially since statewide polls showed that while support was high for the casino measure in South Florida, there was less than 60 percent support in every other region of the state. Meanwhile, voters have blocked attempts to authorize casino gambling three other times when casino initiatives were on the ballot in 1978, 1986 and in 1994.
The pari-mutuel industry won approval to bring slot machines to eight race tracks, dog tracks and jai alai frontons only after telling voters the new gambling venues would be limited to Miami Dade and Broward.
This is a critical time for people to step up and make their voices heard. Missouri knows all too well that the casino industry will spend millions of dollars to orchestrate a deceptive and slick campaign offering false promises in exchange for expanded gambling. Once the public is deceived, they will back peddle on their promises, and instead deliver heart-ache and torment to vulnerable Florida families. However, The Miami Harold points to a group that is steadfast in its opposition:
No Casinos, the anti-gambling group backed by Disney and Miami auto magnate Norman Braman, is ready to oppose the initiative campaign, said John Sowinski, director of the group.
“Our sense is that legislators weren’t fooled by the slick sales pitch and Florida voters won’t be fooled by it either,’’ he said. “If Genting, or whoever this committee is, filed an amendment to expanding gambling in Florida, we will put together a committee to oppose it and our sense is it will be a similar outcome.”
Please join No Casinos in your opposition to expanded gambling and help end this petition before the industry has an opportunity to deceive the people.
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