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Florida’s Supreme Court will review the proposals on casino expansion within the state. It followed a request from the Florida attorney general Ashley Moody. The amendments would open new doors for launching casinos in the Northern part of the state.

According to FOX35 from Orlando, a political committee that backs these measures has reached the number of signatures needed to initiate the review procedure.

The Florida attorney general has received the message that the initiative has exceeded 222 898 signatures, which means that judicial review can be held. The committee that supports the proposed measures will try to increase the number of signatures and reach 891 589 by February 1. If that happens, the issue can be added to the November 2022 ballot.

The proposal pits gambling giant Las Vegas Sands against the Seminole tribe, which is the only Las Vegas style casino operator in the state for now. The local authorities have already banned the tribe’s initiative of introducing online gambling to Florida.

This measure, if approved, will open the doors to casinos along Interstate 10 in North Florida and facilities in the Jacksonville area.

Ivan Kurochkin’s comments

The history of the struggle for the gambling Olympus in Florida continues. HOW it happens deserves a separate article, and maybe even a film shot by a director of Martin Scorsese’s magnitude — this is how much drama there really is!

We have previously touched upon the gambling business in Florida when commenting on the news of the decision that the District of Columbia’s court will repeal a compact (special agreement) between the state government and the Seminole tribe on the right of the latter to offer sports betting through their Hard Rock Sportsbook app, all throughout the state. The Seminole tribe began to challenge the court's decision in the hope that, while the appeal process drags on, they will be able to continue accepting bets through the app, which they launched just a month earlier, at the beginning of last November.

However, on December 4, 2021, following a failed appeal, the Seminole had to shut down the Hard Rock Sportsbook app. Several major players in the US gambling and sports betting market tried to take advantage of the current situation in Florida. Names such as Las Vegas Sands, FanDuel, and DraftKings appear in various foreign media outlets.

It is reported that these companies are cooperating with several organizations at once, ensuring the collection of signatures from residents of the state in order to bring to a general vote at the end of 2022 the issue of amending the state constitution* in order to allow the expansion of the gambling business, both in terms of the construction of new resorts with casinos, and in terms of expanding the list of companies eligible to run sportsbooks in Florida.

This development threatens the growth of the Seminole tribe’s business, who operate the Hard Rock hotels and casinos. They are struggling to resist the amendment initiative and are using every imaginable and unthinkable means to disrupt the signature collection process. They do it according to the principle “the end justifies the means” - they sabotage the political process, bribe local residents, hire private detectives, and outbid private detectives who work for competitors. How is this still not a movie?!

It is impossible to convey the real heat of the tensions that is rising by the day in the Sunshine State. The POLITICO correspondent in an article about this confrontation characterizes the situation as “only-in-Florida political battle” and it’s hard for me to add anything other than to offer to stock up on popcorn and follow the development of the “Battle of Florida” plot.

 

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