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Justices Review Gambling Amendment For 2018

Florida Supreme Court
Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court reviewed a ballot measure Wednesday that would require a referendum to authorize casino gambling in the state. Regan McCarthy reports the measure is expected to come up on the ballot in 2018.

The court is charged with determining whether the ballot summary accurately reflects the substance of the amendment. And Adam Schachter, the lawyer representing supporters of the Voter Control of Gambling amendment, says there’s no question.

“This initiative presents a simple and straight forward amendment to the constitution by providing Florida’s voters with the exclusive right to authorize casino gambling in Florida, this amendment provides both clarity and common sense on an issue where both are sorely needed,” Schachter says.

But Marc Dunbar disagrees. He’s an attorney representing a number of gambling interests in Florida that are opposed amendment. Dunbar says the proposal is vague and could have a far reaching impact on everything from slot machines to arcade games. He says that’s something voters ought to know.

“In order to determine whether the summary is misleading or not, you have to tell the voters what the potential consequences are,” Dunbar says.

But Justice Barbara Pariente maintains the question currently before the court isn’t whether the amendment is ambiguous. She says that’s for later potential litigation if the amendment passes.

“We see amendments all the time that we’re going what is this going to do. I think our role, although people think our role is we’re voting on the merits, is to ensure that the ballot title and summary accurately reflects the substance of the amendment,” Pariente says.

There’s no timeline for when the court will rule.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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