Casino Groups Could Be Pushing to Put Gambling on 2014 Ballot

After Genting Group's aggressive push to shove gambling down the throat of the Florida legislature this year failed spectacularly, gambling interests have taken a more low key approach to eventually opening the sunshine state to more gaming. They may be looking to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2014, but could also just be using that as a tactical move to force the legislature's hand.

New Jobs and Revenues for Florida, a political action committee, has raised just under $1 million since it was founded in April. Genting has denied involvement with the group, but most of the groups money has come from Bayfront 2011 Development, LLC or Resorts World Miami, LLC, two Genting connected companies.

According to Miami Today, the PAC is preparing efforts to get an amendment on the 2014 ballot.

"They're doing a lot of legal analysis and polling analysis," No Casinos for Florida President John Sowinski told the paper, "which tells me they're having a hard time finding something that the voters will have the stomach for."

Though, Sowinski also theorizes that the threat of a ballot measure could just be used to move the legislature's hand. The ballot measure could, for instance, provide for a lot less funding for the state than could a deal worked out directly with the legislature.

However, other gambling interests, including Las Vegas Sands, say they still believe the best way to get gambling legalized in Florida is directly though the legislature. A ballot measure would have to be approved by 60 percent of all voters.

Genting shook the state when it announced it had bought the current site of the Miami Herald and unveiled plans to turn it into an ostentatious resort centered around a full-service casino. After failing to get gambling laws changed however, the company announced scaled-down plans without a casino.

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