With their latest donation of over $100,000, Disney Worldwide Services Inc. has now contributed more than $4.6m to support a Florida constitutional amendment that would let voters decide whether the state’s gambling industry can expand.
Political committee Voters in Charge has been working on a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for Florida’s gambling industry to expand. The Voter Control of Gambling Amendment, also known as Amendment 3, will put any changes made to the gambling industry in the hands of the voters, if approved this November.
If Amendment 3 is passed: “This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida. This amendment requires a vote by citizens’ initiative pursuant to Article XI, section 3, in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law. This section amends this Article; and also affects Article XI, by making citizens’ initiatives the exclusive method of authorizing casino gambling.”
Supporters contribute millions
Voters in Charge is the sponsor of Amendment 3. The amendment has received support from not only Disney but also the Seminole Tribe, which has a major stake in the state’s gambling industry. With the latest contribution from Disney Worldwide Services, Inc., the company has given a total of $4.66m (€3.79m) to support the campaign. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has contributed $1.78m (€1.44m). As of April 15, a total of $7.35m (€5.98) has been raised to support the campaign.
Disney and the Seminole Tribe support Amendment 3 because it would make it harder for gambling to expand in the state. Disney wants to keep its stronghold in the tourism market with the Disney World properties in Orlando, while the Seminole Tribe wants to maintain its position in the casino industry by keeping exclusive rights to offer certain casino-style games in the state.
Putting voters in charge
Amendment 3 is on the November ballot and requires 60% approval by local voters to make the changes to the state’s constitution. If approved, locals would be given the exclusive right to make decisions about casino gambling in the state. This would reduce the amount of power that the governor and lawmakers of the state have to make decisions on any gambling expansion. The Florida State Legislature would be unable to authorize casino gambling via a statute or by referring a constitutional amendment to the ballot.
The Voters in Charge group saw the measure placed on the ballot after a state-wide signature campaign was completed in January. A total of 766,200 signatures was needed. The group used contributions by Disney and the Seminole Tribe to further their campaign, spending $6.89 per required signature on the petition gathering and verification process.