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Money flows to fight gambling amendment

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gambling interests have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to political committees that are expected to fight a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot, according to newly filed reports with the state Division of Elections.

The committee Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3, Inc. raised $520,000 from Aug. 16 to Wednesday, including $250,000 from the Gulfstream Park Racing Association and $250,000 from St. Petersburg Kennel Club, Inc.

Meanwhile, the committee Vote NO on 3 received $125,000 last week from West Flagler Associates, Ltd., which is the operator of Miami’s Magic City Casino, according to the reports.

The committees oppose a proposed constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 3, that could make it harder to expand gambling in the future.

If approved by 60 percent of voters, the proposed amendment would change the Florida Constitution and give voters the "exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling" in the state.

It would require voter approval of casino-style games in the future and effectively reduce the power of the Legislature and governor to decide gambling-related issues.

The measure has been heavily backed by Disney Worldwide Services, Inc., a longtime opponent of casino gambling, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which already operates casinos in the state.