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Florida Supreme Court Approves Constitutional Amendment Regarding Gambling

- April 24, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The Seminole Tribe opposes both the House and the Senate bill.

The Supreme Court ruled that the wording of the proposed amendment isn’t misleading.

Earlier this year the Florida House passed a new gambling bill. However, that wasn’t the end of it, as the problems started when the bill was supposed to be introduced in the State Senate. The Senators weren’t as keen as the House Representatives, so it seemed that the bill was blocked.

Gambling proponents tried to convince the Senators of the need to pass a bill, but it was decided that the bill won’t even be viewed by the Senate. Then a process of negotiations between the Senate and the House began, until the Supreme Court’s latest ruling changed the whole situation and introduced new prospects for gambling legalisation in the country.

No Decision Can Be Finalised without Voters’ Approval

The Supreme Court approved the constitutional change which gives the voters the final right to decide whether casino gambling should be legalised in the country or not. It has been announced that 4 of the judges voted in favour of the amendment, whereas two of them were against.

The judges felt that the text of the proposed amendment was not misleading or vague at all. Two of the judges who were against argued that from the text it can’t be extrapolated how the changes would apply to certain counties such as Miami-Dade and Broward.

This will definitely be a key step in the way towards full legalisation, but, gambling legalisation proponents still have a long way to go. Namely, they are yet to convince more than 700,000 residents to sign in order to ensure that the issue of gambling legalisation will be on the ballot next year. So far, just a bit over 74,000 have been collected.

Some of those who are opposed to gambling legalisation, also applauded the constitutional change, arguing that now no local representatives would be able to introduce casino gaming in their counties before they get the citizens’ approval. This makes matters even more complicated.

Gambling Conference Postponed

It has to be noted that the Court decision has nothing to do with the content of the proposed amendments. Namely, the Supreme Court only had the task to confirm that the wording of the document isn’t misleading and is in line with the constitution and state legislation.

We are yet to see how the decision will affect the lawmakers. The current session is going to end in the first days of May and the only thing that is certain is that there’s a high degree of uncertainty. Namely, both the House and Senate have already passed gambling bills, but the problem is that the two bills are quite different. That is precisely why the two bodies had to work together in order to find a solution.

In an effort to resolve the issue the authorities scheduled a gambling conference which has to be postponed following the Supreme Court decision. Senator Bill Galvano was supposed to be the conference chairman, and he stated that he and everyone else would need some time to reflect on the Court ruling before they can proceed.

It should be noted that the Seminole Tribe which is affected by both pieces of legislation, is opposed to both the Senate and the House bill.

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