An unsuccessful effort
The long-running efforts of a Las Vegas Sands-backed group to expand casino gambling in North Florida have come to an end. Florida Voters in Charge announced on Friday that it would no longer pursue the matter. This is despite spending over $73m as part of its major petition drive and legal action. The group finally admitted defeat when it voluntarily withdrew its lawsuit.
did not manage to make its way onto November’s ballot
Most of the funding came from casino company Las Vegas Sands. All of these funds were spent before the constitutional amendment stage, the most expensive period – advertising to try to convince the public to support the measure. Ultimately, the measure did not manage to make its way onto November’s ballot.
No casinos for North Florida
The creation of Florida Voters in Charge came in an attempt to bring economic development to North Florida through Las Vegas-style casinos. The committee’s spokesperson Sarah Bascom revealed in a statement that the group is now winding down its efforts as part of the 2022 election cycle. In the statement, Bascom said that “the committee believes that it submitted more than the required number of voter signatures to make the 2022 ballot.”
too many obstacles standing in its way
However, the committee believes that there are too many obstacles standing in its way, making its goal “untenable.” The statement closed by thanking the “hundreds of thousands” of Floridians who supported the proposal.
The $73m spent by the Florida Voters in Charge is reportedly the most expensive constitutional amendment campaign in the state’s history. While Las Vegas Sands provided most of the funding, the Poarch Creek Band of Indians of Alabama also contributed $2m.
Florida Voters in Charge failed to collect the almost 900,000 necessary valid signatures from voters before the February 1 deadline. Despite suing in an attempt to get an extension to the deadline, the group’s efforts were unsuccessful. There were also reports of significant rejection rates of signatures that it had collected, as well as allegations about potentially fraudulent petitions. It is unclear if the group will attempt to revitalize these efforts for the 2024 ballot.
Seminole Tribe of Florida will maintain its control
As a result of the failure of the measure, the Seminole Tribe of Florida will maintain its control over full casino operations in the state. The tribe has a long-running relationship with the state when it comes to most types of legal gambling. One of the other battles the tribe is currently fighting is to be allowed have control over Florida’s sports betting space.