Florida Parimutuels Challenge Amendment

Six Florida parimutuels filed a brief challenging the legality of the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment that would require future statewide votes on casino gambling. The Supreme Court is reviewing the wording of the proposal, which is backed by the Orlando-based group No Casinos Inc.

As the Florida Supreme Court considers the wording of the proposed Voter Control of Gambling in Florida amendment, six parimutuel operators have filed a brief stating the wording does not meet legal requirements to be placed on the 2018 ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment seeks to make expanded gambling in Florida more difficult by requiring future statewide votes to authorize casino-style games and by taking away the legislature’s ability to approve casinos. It would not affect tribal casino operations, which are regulated by federal law.

The Supreme Court must sign off on the amendment’s wording before it can appear on the ballot.

The brief was filed on behalf of Jacksonville Kennel Club Inc., Dania Entertainment LLC, Investment Corporation of Palm Beach, West Flagler Associates Ltd., Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation and Melbourne Greyhound Park LLC. The parimutuels argue the proposal would be misleading to voters, does not fully explain the potential impact of the amendment passes and improperly merges two different subjects.

The brief state, “The ballot summary fails to fully and accurately explain the ramifications of the gambling amendment on certain gaming activities–including card games, charitable bingo, lotteries, and sweepstakes–that are currently authorized under Florida law. For example, the ballot summary and the supporting text of the gambling amendment do not indicate whether the law intends to be prospective or retrospective, causing an unfair and misleading presentation to the voters on the status of existing law.”

The Orlando-based group No Casinos Inc. is financing the amendment drive.