The Seminole Tribe, which owns the Hard Rock Entertainment company, and Disney are not on the same side with regard to anything in Florida. They are usually competing against each other for entertainment dollars. And, not just in Florida, but in other locations as well, since both companies have billions of dollars in revenue all over the world. However, Disney and the Seminole tribe have united and contributed money to a political action committee that is trying to get an amendment passed to limit further gaming in the state.
Gaming in Florida
Currently, Florida has several different forms of gambling. Native American casinos operate in several locations in the state. In addition, the state has many racetracks that allow on-track and off-track betting on several different types of horse and dog racing. Florida also runs an extensive lottery program, both at the state and multistate level. Bingo is also allowed. While sports betting is not allowed yet, there has been a discussion about legalizing sports gaming.
The Tribe and the Mouse
Both Disney and the Seminole tribe gave $5 million to Voters in Charge, a political action committee that has been fighting against the expansion of gambling in the state. The committee’s members are from a variety of organizations, such as churches, business owners, and social agencies, who believe there is enough gambling in the state already. In addition, social agencies believe there is a problem with gambling because gambling addiction leads to other issues within the community, such as theft and embezzlement.
The money spent by both organizations (Disney, $9.7 million and the Seminoles, $6.78 million) has been the driving force behind the anti-gaming initiative, which collected plenty of signatures to get the amendment on the ballot in November.
Why the Seminoles and Disney Have a Problem with Gaming
The two groups have two completely different reasons for their opposition. Disney has never been in favor of gaming in the state because the company does not feel gambling companies have the best interests of families at heart, and Disney prides itself on being family-friendly. The Seminole tribe, meanwhile, has opened casinos all over the state but does not want more proposals that could expand gambling at pari-mutuel facilities that it does not own.
If the amendment passes, the Florida constitution would be changed and give voters the right to decide if or when they want to authorize more gaming. This would limit the power of the governor and the legislature to change what they approve of in terms of gambling.
However, the odds don’t look good for the tribe or the mouse. Researchers have said Floridians are in favor of increasing the gaming revenue in the state because it helps with the budget, and allows Florida to pay for additional programs. In addition, voter turnout in November is expected to be high because of the contested state races. It may turn out that no matter how Disney and the Seminoles feel about gaming, Floridians may be in favor of it.
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