Controversial North Florida Casino Plans Fail to Gain Support

North Florida Casino Plans Fail

There has been a big case going on in North Florida involving casinos. The main problem was a petition had been taken to court to see changes put in casinos in North Florida.

The petition, if successful, would see casinos in the region adopt a new style. They would be required to adapt Las Vegas-based casino styles, which isn’t the case currently.

Even though online gambling is outlawed in the state, players can still enjoy a wide range of casino games at one of the state’s several Native American casinos. You can have a gaming vacation in Florida with everything from slot games to poker. Check out this guide for more information on online casinos in Florida.

The amendment has hit a brick wall as it could not make it to the 2022 ballot. Here is a small recap of how the events unfolded and the main talking points in the failed amendment request.

Wasted money in court

When you try to sue anyone, especially trying to change how big entities work, a lot of money will be spent. That was exactly the case in North Florida as over 70 million US dollars were spent during the case. While the amount is a lump sum, there was a good reason that saw that money get splashed.

However, given that the people suing did not get what they wanted, it was a pretty bad loss in their books. There were two major parties involved in the amendment debacle, the Las Vegas Sands and the Seminoles.

The Las Vegas Sands spent at least 73 million US dollars in contributions. The money was contributed to Florida Voters in Charge, which is a political committee. The committee was the one that sponsored the casino initiative. The money received in contributions helped their course.

On the other hand, the Seminoles spent well over 40 million dollars to keep the amendment from reaching the ballot. This is following the state Division of Elections’ official website.

It is pretty clear now who had the better use for their funds. You could say that the Seminoles were happier with how their money was spent.

Death threats

The case was deemed pretty serious when there were allegations of death threats against workers. The two forces involved, the Las Vegas Sand Corporation and the Seminole Tribe of Florida were well invested in this. One wanted the changes made to let them in, while the other wanted nothing changed in their territory.

For the amendment to get to court, there had to be an agreed number of signatures collected before a deadline. The deadline of February first was set by the court, with a signature target of around 900,000.

The set target was not meant, which implied that the case would not proceed to court. This saw the Vegas Sand Corp appeal for more time, but the request was denied by the court again.

Since the case couldn’t go on as a result of petition signatures, there had to be another way. They filed an appeal to the Florida 1st court of appeals after the suit to get an extension was denied.

It was denied by Judge John Cooper of the Leon County Circuit. The Florida Voters in Charge, which was pushing the initiative dropped the appeal.

Afterward, they informed Cooper by filing a notice of voluntary dismissal of the case. It was alleged that workers gathering the signatures received death threats while doing so. The allegations also included the workers paying for signatures, which is a violation.

A failed gambling initiative

One of the plans backed by the Sand Corporation was to legalize sports gambling in Florida. It is known that sports gambling is illegal in North Florida, especially in casinos.

The plan was to put up a case that would see online gambling legalized in casinos. That was in a plan to catch up with the rest of the online gambling world, which allows sports betting.

The efforts however backfired after the agreed number of signatures could not be collected in time. The Seminoles were big on opposing these changes suggested, but the tribe changed focus.

After succumbing to defeat in recommending two gambling-related initiatives, the tribe kept going. They turned their heads to the casino proposal, which came later on. The initiatives regarding gambling entertainment had started earlier, with the first one coming late last year.

Campaigns were being run on television to try and support their case. Had it gone through, the deal would see the corporation take control of sports gambling in Florida.

Casino drama

Apart from the gambling initiatives that failed, other matters reached court. The Florida Voters in Charge filed a lawsuit against the tribe for messing with their casino initiative.

The committee said that the tribe interfered with the signature collection. Remember the signatures had to be collected before February 1st to get a chance at amending.

They accused the tribe of illegally interfering with the workers. This is where the alleged death threats came in. The workers are Florida residents and maybe wanted to see change. The tribe didn’t want any changed and opposed them firmly.

On one hand, one is accusing the other of handing death treats out to workers. On the other hand, the other is accusing the opposition of buying signatures. There is no way of knowing who is telling the truth and who is not.

Everyone is trying to justify their way in court while trying their best to derail the opponent. In the end, the Florida Voters in Charge dropped the charges one day before the deadline of February 1st.

Still Bitter

After all these failed bids, the Florida Voters in Charge spokeswoman Sarah Bascom had some words. She was quoted saying that the committee felt it collected enough signatures but faced set obstacles. She believes that the obstacles were designed to prevent them from ever getting to court.

For instance, she and the whole committee feel that the review of ballot language by the Supreme court was unnecessary. Bascom feels the review makes the achievement of that goal insupportable.


The case has been in court for months, and there seems to be more to this, according to how Bascom spoke. It would not be a surprise if another campaign was started to reach these goals.

The Florida people have mixed feelings about the whole amendment trying to be passed. The case, like any other, has been dragged for too long in court and had what some would term an inconclusive ending.


South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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