The United States had its midterm elections earlier this week. Several states, namely Florida and Arkansas, had some rather large issues related to gambling being put to the voters. Now, the results are in, and there have been some pretty big gambling changes thanks to the election. Here are some of the biggest gambling changes following Tuesday’s vote.
Several states will see drastic changes to their gambling industries following the recent midterm elections. The biggest changes are happening in Florida and Arkansas.
Big Changes in Florida Following Midterm
Florida perhaps has the biggest changes in the gambling world. There were two major issues on the ballot. The first was outlawing Greyhound Racing, and the second was taking away the state’s power to expand the gambling industry, putting the power in the people’s hands. Voter overwhelmingly supported the ban on Greyhound Racing. Florida has 11 of the active dog tracks in the USA. Nearly 70% of voters in the midterm voted to ban the sport by 2021.
Oddly enough, the many of the tracks were hoping for this outcome. This is because of an unusual law that requires venues to host Greyhound events, in order to qualify for other gambling licenses. Many tracks have wanted this law removed, as the racing wasn’t profitable. However, they still had to host the events in order to qualify to host more profitable gambling events and games. The other big issue on the Florida ballot was Amendment 3.
Amendment 3 sought to give the power to the public, in terms of gambling expansions. The amendment was heavily funded by Disney and the Seminole Tribe. Disney funded it because it wants to maintain the family-friendly vibe in Florida. The Seminole Tribe backed it in order to maintain its position as the top casino in Florida. It is believed that the public is less likely to approve casino expansion projects. In order for the bill to pass, it needed a 60% majority. Unfortunately for many, it received the required votes. Going forward, gambling expansions in Florida can only come from citizen-initiated ballot questions.
Arkansas Midterm Vote Permits Casinos
The other state that saw the midterm election bring big gambling changes was Arkansas. Known on the ballot as Issue 4, it sought to legalize casino gambling and sports betting in the state. The majority of voters were in favour of allowing the casino expansion, and it received the required number of votes. Issue 4 allows casino gaming to take place at Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs, as well as at Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis. Previously, these locations were only permitted to offer electronic games of skill.
In addition to this, two new casinos can be built in Pope and Jefferson counties, provided there is sufficient support from locals. There has not been an amendment on the ballot for casino gambling in Arkansas since 2000, which did not receive approval from voters. The road to getting the amendment before voters was a very long one, with numerous attempts rejected by the state’s attorney general. It will be interesting to see how the gambling industry will develop in the state following the midterm vote.