Disney Boosts Funds for Anti-Gambling Committee


A constitutional amendment involving gambling in Florida continues to receive support as both Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida donated $5m (€4.1m) each to the campaign in April.

Campaign efforts of the Voters In Charge Committee continue to ramp up as more donations come in and polling numbers remain strong. Recent reports have shown that the sponsors of the Voter Control of Gambling amendment have gained momentum with their campaign in areas of fundraising and social media.

The Voter Control of Gambling amendment will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 3 and if approved by voters, would give the people of Florida the exclusive right to decide if casino gambling changes in the state of Florida should be authorized. The power would transfer from the lawmakers of the state to the residents, a move that the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. want to see happen.

Continuing contributions

Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. had contributed more than $100,000 in additional donations to Voters In Charge, bringing their total donations to over $4.6m (€3.8m). Now, by contributing an additional $5m (€4.1m) to the campaign, Disney appears to be upping the stakes to ensure that its family vacation destination in Orlando is not affected by any gambling changes.

On top of the Disney donation, the Seminole Tribe of Florida also decided to increase its support, with a $5m (€4.1m) donation of its own. This led to over $10m (€8.3m) being donated to the Voters In Charge campaign efforts in April.

Chairman of Voters In Charge John Sowinski said: “We have the support of over 1.1 million Florida voters who signed petitions, strong voter support, a growing regiment of grassroots leaders across Florida, committed donors and an experienced team in place. Where we are today is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what our campaign will look like as Election Day approaches.”

Additional support

Along with Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. and the Seminole Tribe, another group has been providing support to Voters In Charge, but on a smaller scale. No Casinos Inc. is an organization focused on anti-casino expansion, with which Mr. Sowinski is associated. This group has also provided donations, with just over $60,000 (€51,733.66) contributed in April.

With the combined donations of all three groups in April, just over $10m was provided to the Voters In Charge campaign efforts. To date, Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. has contributed over $9.6m (€8m) while the Seminole Tribe has provided over $6.7m (€5.6m). April 2018 was a record-setting month for the group, with total contributions surpassing $16m (€13.3m) from October 2015, when the effort began.

If Amendment 3 is approved by 60% of voters in Florida, the state’s constitution would change to give voters the exclusive right to decide the fate of casino gambling. Any addition to the gambling industry would require voter approval before it would be allowed to take place in the state. The power that the state Legislature and Governor have over such issues would be greatly reduced.

There are still many months before the November election, so it will be interesting to see if Disney and the Seminole Tribe continue to pump funds into the pockets of Voters In Charge, trying to ensure that voters do not shift the balance of power involving gambling decisions into the hands of the people.

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