Quick Summary: Requires approval of any new casino gambling through a citizen-initiative constitutional amendment, effectively barring the Legislature from making those gambling decisions by passing laws.
Full Summary: This amendment would require a constitutional amendment, through a citizen initiative only, for any new casino gambling in Florida. A citizen initiative is the process where signatures are gathered to place an amendment on the ballot.
Amendment 3 would effectively stop the Legislature from either passing laws to allow casino gambling or placing its own casino amendments on the ballot. It also would preclude the CRC, which meets every 20 years, from putting casino amendments on the ballot.
If this amendment is approved, for example, a gambling company that wanted to open new casinos in Florida would have to get hundreds of thousands of petition signatures, then mount an expensive statewide campaign and get approval from 60 percent of voters.
Amendment 3 defines casino gambling as games such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno, as well as an array of electronic and video games of chance.
Under current law, the Legislature could vote to approve new casinos with a simple majority, although such legislative efforts in recent years – including this year – have mostly failed.
The amendment doesn’t change the Legislature’s authority over dog- and horse-racing, the Lottery or fantasy sports. Nor does it affect casinos owned and operated by Native-American tribes. It also doesn’t hinder the state from taxing or regulating any type of gambling, including casinos.
Various iterations of constitutional amendments to approve casinos appeared on the ballot in 1978, 1986 and 1994, each of them defeated. In 2004, voters narrowly approved an amendment allowing slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities – dog- and horse-racing tracks – in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
If the casino amendment on November’s ballot is approved, it will take effect immediately.