Tampa Bay Times Questions Florida Gambling Expansion without Support of the People

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the progress of a renewed gambling deal between Florida and the Seminole Tribe. The compact has been the primary means of determining what gambling activities are allowed in Florida for some time. The old compact expired and a new compact was pinnedbut with some dangerous gambling expansion provisions. Now the compact is being debated in the Florida legislature as it must be passed before becoming law. There are many that see this gambling expansion being in direct conflict with the will of the Florida voters. The Tampa Bay Times laid out some history and sharp questions to those who seek to ignore the will of the people when crafting new gambling expansion policies. Times Columnist John Romano explains:

[I]t looks to me like the governor and the Legislature are subverting the wishes of voters with these proposed gambling expansions, if not legally, then certainly in spirit. The concept of Florida as Big Neon Casino State has been brought before voters as a constitutional amendment three different times since 1978 and defeated each time. Defeated, actually, with spectacular ease. The closest vote was 68-32 in 1994.

Since then, the state has approached gambling expansion from a different direction. Instead of asking voters for sweeping approval, the state has expanded gambling in small and seemingly inconsequential ways. On its own, each expansion can be seen as logical and (depending on your point of view) relatively harmless. But we’re getting to the point where Florida is looking a lot like the gambling state that voters have repeatedly said they didn’t want…

[T]he governor and the Legislature need to make sure that’s the case before they agree to take Florida down this latest road. Because anything short of a statewide ballot measure feels like cheating…Maybe Florida voters in 2016 have a completely different mind-set than they did in 1978. Or 1986. Or 1994. But the only way we’ll know is by asking. Until then, any further expansion of gambling is just a sneaky way of ignoring what voters have made exceptionally clear. 

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