The proposal would ban greyhound racing at Florida tracks after Dec. 31, 2020. The exact ballot summary language reads:
"Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected."
LEGALITY OF PARIMUTUAL DOG RACING
As of 2018, Florida is one of 10 states where wagering on dog races is legal. However, in just six states, including Florida, are there operating dog racing tracks for gambling. Neighboring Alabama also has active race dog racing tracks in 2018.
GAMBLING IN FLORIDA
Prior to 1931, gambling was outlawed in Florida. The Florida State Legislature passed a law to allow wagering on horseracing and dogracing, which Gov. Doyle Carlton (D) vetoed. Legislators voted to override the governor's veto, enacting the law on June 5, 1931. In 1935, the state legalized slot machines, but then repealed the law in 1937 following voters banning slot machines through ballot measures in multiple counties.
In 1987, the state launched the Florida State Lottery after voters approved an amendment the previous year. The vote was 63.57 percent to 36.43 percent.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida began operating a bingo hall in 1979. In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), allowing tribes to establish casino gambling on tribal land. The act permitted states to form compacts with tribes to regulate Class III gaming, but not to regulate Class I and Class II gaming. Class I and Class II gaming were defined to include traditional tribal gaming with minimal prizes, bingo, and card games. Class III was defined to include all other games not considered Class I or Class II, such as roulette, craps, keno, slot machines, parimutual wagering, and lotteries. In 1991, the Seminole Tribe sued Gov. Lawton Chiles (D), arguing that the state government failed to negotiate in good faith a compact to allow the tribe to establish a Class III gaming. The case was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in the state's favor, in 1996. In 2010, the Seminole Tribe negotiated a Class III gaming compact with Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. The compact allowed the Seminole Tribe to operate blackjack at five facilities through 2015 and required the tribe to share revenue with the state. In 2015, Gov. Rick Scott (R) formed a new 20-year compact with the Seminole Tribe, which added craps and roulette to the agreement and gave the tribe the exclusive right to blackjack.
On November 2, 2004, 50.83 percent of statewide voters supported an initiative, Amendment 4, to allow voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to authorize slot machines at parimutuel facilities, such as horse racing, greyhound racing, and jai alai exhibititions, that existed and were licensed during the two years prior. On May 18, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a local law allowing slot machines in Gadsden County, concluding that the state constitution only allowed slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In the wake of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission's approval this week of a ballot amendment to ban greyhound racing, the organization representing the state's greyhound tracks is preparing a lawsuit to invalidate the measure.
Florida voters will decide whether to outlaw greyhound racing under a proposed constitutional amendment approved Monday. The proposal (P6012) was passed by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) on a 27-10 vote; it needed at least 22 votes.
The Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) has approved eight revisions to be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot, including greyhound racing. If the public votes to end dog racing, it would phase out by Dec. 31, 2020, according to the CRC.
Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission yesterday voted to place on the 2018 ballot a constitutional amendment that would phase out greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020. This is a monumental step forward toward ending an industry that thrives on the pain of animals, and it has the backing of heavy hitters in the state, including Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, former Florida Senate President Tom Lee, former Senate President Don Gaetz, Commissioner Brecht Heuchan and Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Greyhound breeders and owners plan to file a lawsuit that challenges a proposed constitutional amendment that would outlaw dog racing in Florida. Earlier this week, the Constitution Revision Commission voted to put the proposed ban on the November ballot.