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No Casinos jump-starts anti-gambling campaign with $195K check

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Anti-gambling group No Casinos Inc. launched a new political committee late last month and jump-started its fundraising with a $195,000 check.

Voters in Charge paperwork reached state elections officials Oct. 21 and the contribution followed two days later. The committee is chaired by No Casinos President John Sowinski and Abby Dupree is listed as the treasurer, a title she also holds for Let’s Get to Work, the committee supporting Gov. Rick Scott.

The committee was formed to back a 2018 ballot initiative that would give Florida voters sole control over any future casino gambling expansions in the state though the change would not apply to tribal gaming, which falls under federal law.

The Florida Legislature has considered gaming expansion packages in the past few sessions, though whether they have the authority to pass such laws has been the subject of debate. Most policymakers say the state constitution prohibits any form of gambling not approved by voters even as a few court rulings bring that into question.

Voters in Charge will need to get 683,149 petition signatures, and pass a Florida Supreme Court review to make the ballot. Committee officials said they aim to have 68,314 valid signatures, the amount needed for review, early next year.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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