The Miami Dolphins have decided to dive into politics as 2018 Election Day has arrived. The Florida ballot includes Amendment 3, which would require voter approval for any form of casino gambling. The Dolphins came out specifically against the Amendment.
Currently the Florida legislature has control over implementing gambling. The legislature has been unable to agree on significant gambling legislation, but Amendment 3 would take it out of their hands entirely.
The amendment is supported by the Seminole Tribe and Disney Worldwide Services. If Amendment 3 passes, it would provide the Seminole Tribe with a significant leg up in maintaining what is effectively a monopoly on Florida casino gaming. Disney supports the measure to maintain its firm hold on entertainment dollars in Florida. Virtually every notable newspaper in Florida opposes the Amendment, except the Orlando Sentinel (located in the same city as Disney World).
The Supreme Court’s decision this past May to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, has opened the door to a Wild West of legislation, ballot measures, and more related to sports betting. In ruling PASPA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court stated that Congress could develop a new framework for sports betting, but in the absence of congressional action, states were free to implement whatever rules they want.
Sports leagues have long been outspoken against sports gambling, but the changing environment is giving them a big reason to support sports betting: money. Sports leagues, including the conservative NFL, are starting to form partnerships with sportsbook operators and attempting to influence legislation to provide even more revenue opportunities.
When reached for the comment, the Dolphins did not have anything additional to add to the social media post. They likely oppose the Amendment because having legislative control over sports betting offers the NFL a chance to have some influence over the final product — including any potential integrity fee the league might try and secure.
It is not surprising the Dolphins would oppose this kind of measure in a general sense, but it is interesting given the context of their particular situation. The Seminole Tribe is a major supporter of this measure, and also owns the Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain. The Dolphins play in Hard Rock Stadium. The two business partners do not see eye-to-eye on this particular issue.
Here is the full language of Amendment 3 on the Florida election ballot:
This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.
The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.