Florida’s Passage of Amendment 3 Is a Win-Win for Seminole Tribe & Disney

The passage of Constitutional Amendment 3 in Florida is a win for The Walt Disney Co. and the Seminole Tribe, owners of the Hard Rock international brand. Nearly 70 percent of voters in the Sunshine State approved the amendment, which gives the public the right to weigh in on expanded gaming in the state. The amendment does not apply to casinos on tribal lands.

Moving authorization from the Florida Legislature to the public—involving a lengthy, statewide ballot approval process—reduces the likelihood of increased gaming competition for the Seminole Tribe. It also ensures a more consistent and family-friendly tourism market for the entertainment giant Disney.

Constitutional Amendment 3, also known as Voter Control of Gambling, was proposed by Voters in Charge, a political committee that received the bulk of its funding from the Seminole Tribe and Disney. The Seminole tribe spent more than $24 million to support Amendment 3, according to Ballotopedia. Disney invested $20 million to advance the anti-casinos initiative on the Florida ballot.

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Those who opposed the amendment include owners of horse tracks and The Miami Dolphins, who argue the amendment will block the possibility of legalizing sports betting in Florida.

The amendment passed Tuesday night despite widespread opposition from most newspapers around the state. Editorial boards saw the amendment as a good way to give voters more control over casino gambling but also said the amendment would only benefit larger companies that want to limit competition.