On Monday, Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes proposed three bills that will initiate sports betting legalization. But anti-gambling group critics went ablaze claiming the proposals violate the state constitution.
Sen. Brandes filed SB 968 bill, to address sports wagering, SB 970, regulate licensing and fee in sports betting, and SB 972 to regulate taxes imposition. John Sowinski, the leader of Voters in Charge, didn’t hesitate to renounce Brandes’s bill as a violation of the constitution. John Sowinski, the leader of the Voters in Charge group that pushed the Amendment 3 ballot initiative in the 2018 mid-term election, moved swiftly to repudiate Brandes’s bills as violations of the Florida constitution.
Acording to Casino.org, Voters in Charge group championed the passing of Amendment 3, which was made part of the state constitution. The legislation requires any bills involving sports betting and casino expansion to be put in the ballot.
Not So Fast
Assuming that Brandes’s SB 968 is approved; it would require sports betting operation to be under Florida Lottery. The bill will not only get opposition from Voters in Charge group but also from the Florida Seminole tribe who oppose any gaming expansion. The tribe operates Hard Rock casinos and will require a share in case of sports betting legalization.
Long Road Ahead
Amendment 3 is now the road map for any gaming expansion in Florida. It is embedded in Article X, Section 30 of the state constitution. The amendment states that “Florida citizens shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the state.”
According to Florida Politics, sports-betting is one of the activities included in that section. While states such as Colorado have successful passed sports betting expansion via a referendum, Florida has a long way to go. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a House Bill 5, which requires anyone proposing for a citizen referendum to gather 766,000 signatures. They should also be collected from at least 14 states of the 27 congressional districts.