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 In 1935, the state legalized slot machines, but then repealed the law in 1937 following voters banning slot machines through ballot measures in multiple counties.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.
Florida’s Supreme Court will decide the fate of a dog-racing amendment that is supposed to be on this year’s ballot. On Tuesday, the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal agreed to send the case to the Supreme Court to review a controversial gambling measure, instead of ruing on the matter. Attorney General Pam Bondi, a big proponent of the proposal, immediately appealed the decision and sought an expedited review by the Supreme Court.
Saying it “hide(s) the ball” and calling it “outright ‘trickeration,’ ” a Tallahassee judge has ruled that a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at ending dog racing shouldn’t go on the November ballot. But in a statement, Attorney General Pam Bondi – who supports a dog-racing ban – said her office “will appeal this decision immediately and seek an expedited review by the Florida Supreme Court.” Time is of the essence; Election Day is 97 days away as of Wednesday.
Should Florida ban betting on greyhound racing? The smart — and ethical money — says yes. Powerful forces are in play supporting Amendment 13, which would prohibit parimutuel operations from racing greyhounds or any other dogs for wagering. The amendment on the November ballot would phase out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020.
A proposed constitutional amendment intended to end dog racing in Florida was thrown off the November ballot by a Tallahassee judge Wednesday, and by Thursday Attorney General Pam Bondi had appealed the ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. Proposed Amendment 13, placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission, "is clearly and conclusively defective" because it misleads voters, concluded Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers.
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.