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John Sowinski

Gambling amendment now has 600K signatures

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A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at limiting gambling’s expansion in the state now has more than 600,000 signatures, its backers said Monday. Voters in Charge, the political committee behind the amendment, said it’s “over halfway towards its goal of gathering 1.1 million signatures in order to reach the required number of 766,200 valid petitions to appear on the 2018 General Election ballot.”

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No Casinos responds to criticism it’s ‘misinformed’ about casino gambling

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The state’s anti-gambling expansion group is pushing back against comments that it’s “misinformed” about casino gambling not being a “meaningful attraction for Florida tourism.” Steven Norton, a longtime gambling executive and consultant, linked to Nick Sortal‘s Friday column for the Miami Herald in Norton’s Monday email roundup of the gambling scene in the South. “As I survey the scene nationwide, I think it’s fair to ask the question: Do we have enough casinos already? And, a related question: Do we have enough gambling already?”…

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Florida Supreme Court rules against Gretna track, slots expansion

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A unanimous Florida Supreme Court has ruled against a North Florida racetrack seeking to add slot machines. The 20-page decision, released Thursday, means that gambling facilities in Gadsden County’s Gretna and in seven other counties that passed local referendums allowing slots also will not be able to offer them. In doing so, the court upheld a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal that agreed with state gambling regulators who denied the track a slots permit. In sum, the…

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Senate and House move closer to deal on gambling bill

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The Senate capitulated to the House on several issues Thursday as part of ongoing negotiations to strike a compromise on gambling legislation, while holding firm on others. But the latest offer includes a key provision desired by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, OK’ing up to 1,500 slots machines in “facilities in referendum counties” with a requirement “to surrender to the state one active pari-mutuel permit.” Still, it looks like a final deal will be far from the ‘no expansion’ position the…

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Supreme Court OKs gambling control, felon voting rights amendments

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The state’s highest court on Thursday gave its approval for proposed state constitutional amendments on voter approval of new gambling and restoring voting rights to ex-cons. But there’s a big ‘if’ before either can be placed on the 2018 statewide ballot—both amendments still need hundreds of thousands of signatures. Moreover, Justices Ricky Polston and R. Fred Lewis dissented on the gambling amendment, saying “the ballot title and summary do not clearly inform the public that the proposed amendment may substantially affect slot…

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Poll: Most voters down on expanding gambling

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The vast majority of Florida voters — 84 percent — “want to reduce or hold the line on gambling” and 60 percent also “are less likely to support a candidate … that votes to expand gambling,” a new poll released Monday shows. The latest Mason-Dixon poll included questions on gambling, according to a news release from No Casinos, Florida’s anti-gambling expansion group. The anti-expansion “feeling among Floridians carries across all regions of the state: North Florida (87 percent), Central Florida (92 percent),…

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Senate panel OKs gambling overhaul bill, including Seminole provisions

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The Florida Senate has seemingly fast-tracked the chamber’s gambling overhaul for this year, as its first panel gave unanimous thumbs up to the measure one hour into a meeting that had been scheduled to last four. The bill (SB 8) was cleared Wednesday by the Regulated Industries committee, which oversees gambling policy. It has only one more stop, Appropriations, before it can be heard on the floor. The 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7. The measure ensures “substantial positive impacts for many…

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