Poker Alliance Disappointed in Florida Amendment 3 Passage
Just weeks ago, the Poker Alliance took its first stand on a major issue regarding online poker and gaming since its rebranding earlier this year. The organization threw its weight behind opposing Amendment 3 in Florida, an amendment giving the voters of the state the exclusive right to vote on all decisions pertaining to casino gambling. While the move came late in the campaign season, the advocacy was strong and seemed to be supported by many major media outlets in Florida.
When the votes were tallied on November 6, 2018, the amendment passed by a significant margin.
This puts Florida in a precarious position regarding the potential for online gambling, even with regard to land-based casinos and the expansion of poker rooms in the state. And it is a crushing defeat for the Poker Alliance after its first foray into advocacy since being purchased and funded by Poker Central.
I think poker rooms took a big hit in Florida yesterday.
They approved an end Greyhound racing in two years and they passed amendment 3 which will make tougher to expand any gambling
Disney and the Seminole nation spent a lot of money making this happen. #poker #floridapoker
— Tom Brewer (@gatorpokerking) November 7, 2018
Amendment 3 Results
The “Voter Control of Gambling in Florida” ballot measure was summarized as follows:
“This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.”
The road to passage was fairly steep for this constitutional amendment, as it required a supermajority vote of 60% or more in favor of it to pass.
As it turned out, that was not such a steep hill for this measure to climb. According to Ballotpedia, with 99% reporting, the tally was:
Yes: 71.44% (5,572,528 votes)
No: 28.56% (2,227,226 votes)
Serious Poker Push
When the Poker Alliance came out against Amendment 3, it was already October 24, but the organization put its full weight behind the “FoldOn3” campaign.
On social media, the Poker Alliance tweeted consistently through to the day of the election about Amendment 3 to its 21,500,000 followers, even prompting some of poker’s biggest names, like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, to do the same:
— Poker Alliance (@ppapoker) November 6, 2018
The Poker Alliance also used its new website for the first time to urge members and poker supporters to spread the word about the FoldOn3 campaign, filling its home page with information and links pertaining to the movement to vote down Amendment 3. There was also another page on the site with reasons to oppose the measure.
The argument used against Amendment 3 was that putting all gambling decisions in the hands of voters on the statewide level and requiring a supermajority of that vote would make it nearly impossible to expand gaming opportunities in Florida, whether that would be sports betting, online poker, or the expansion of live poker options. Even rule changes would have to receive a statewide vote, according to the Poker Alliance. And with no gambling expansion in Florida’s future, the state would lose the opportunity to rake in “hundreds of millions of tax dollars to fund education.”
Hey Florida poker pals! I hope you’re voting on Election Day (Nov 6th) for obvious reasons and when you do, please #VOTE NO on Amendment 3. The good peeps @ppapoker have all the details on why it’s bad for the #poker community. https://t.co/mpxoRSJzMf #FoldOn3
— Maria Ho (@MariaHo) October 30, 2018
The bottom line for gambling in Florida is that the Seminole Tribe of Florida has a monopoly on the industry and will continue to hold it per its latest gaming compact that is effective until 2035. Tribal leaders have spoken out against most forms of gambling expansion in the state. Any attempts to subvert the Seminole’s desires and/or demands is likely to be met with political force and threats of legal action.
While numerous media outlets supported the Poker Alliance’s FoldOn3 campaign, it may have been too little and/or too late.
Poker Alliance President Mark Brenner told us, “The Poker Alliance is disappointed that the misleading campaign to limit the future expansion and improvement of gaming options in Florida was successful. We are incredibly grateful for the willingness of our members to get out and vote and the overwhelming response from our community who engaged on social media and worked hard to get people to Vote No on 3.”
Florida voters pass Amendment 3, increase difficulty of implementing sports betting https://t.co/NBEQ5uWiLg
— robert guess (@robertguess2009) November 7, 2018