International edition
June 18, 2021

Following the recently signed compact with the Seminole Tribe

Florida voters want to have a say in new gambling expansion, poll says

Florida voters want to have a say in new gambling expansion, poll says
State Senator Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast said: "There will be a free-market, so to speak, approach in terms of which site you want to go to that you feel comfortable with to place those sports bets."
United States | 05/07/2021

A Florida gambling poll, taken from April 29 to May 2 by McLaughlin & Associates, revealed that 44% of the voters think Florida has the right amount of gaming already. 76% of respondents want voters, not lawmakers, to have a say on the new deal.

T

o focus on the future of Florida gaming, lawmakers will return to the legislative session to consider a new compact with the Seminole Tribe, which is thought to expand their operations and offer mobile sports betting. However, a new poll suggests voters want to weigh in.

A Florida gambling poll was taken from April 29 to May 2, by McLaughlin & Associates.

The poll revealed that:

  • 44% think Florida has the right amount of gaming already.
  • 13%, too much
  • 16%, too little
  • 26% were unsure

The major conclusion is that 76 percent of respondents want voters, not lawmakers, to have a say on the new deal. During a special session starting May 17, lawmakers are set to consider the agreement.

Negotiated by the Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the compact promises billions in new state revenue and lets the Tribe's current Hard Rock casinos in South Florida offer craps and roulette. The Tribe also becomes a hub for mobile sports betting, bringing it to the nation’s third-largest state, according to the West Palm Beach TV.

State Senator Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast said: "There will be a free-market, so to speak, approach in terms of which site you want to go to that you feel comfortable with to place those sports bets. Who'll be carrying legislation associated with the agreement. Hoping we can get it done in two to three days, but we made it five just in case."

State Sen. Travis Hutson expects the approval of bills creating a gaming commission in Florida. "I don’t believe it's an expansion," he said. "I haven’t read it yet, but I believe there's an Oklahoma case that's very similar that has gone through the federal process. I think we're on solid ground."

The group behind the 2018 amendment, No casinos disagrees. Its president, in a statement, said the agreement "violates the letter and spirit" of the amendment.

"More gambling in Florida will hurt our economy, our communities, and our taxpayers. Floridians not only want to retain control over this issue, but they fully understand that the Florida Constitution mandates that voter control," said John Sowinski.

Even if the legislature approves the deal, Floridians will still have to wait for the changes. Because the compact deals with gaming on tribal land, the U.S. Department of the Interior will also need to sign off.

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