As one of the largest states in the USA, the gambling debate in Florida has been getting a lot of attention with a ton of different groups all have substantially different stakes in what happens. Florida has a long history with gambling debates with more than 50 different attempts by its´congress to pass bills to allow gambling. Some of the more important groups involved include the obvious, big casinos and religious group, but also involves the Seminole Indian Tribe who currently operate a handful of casinos including some HardRock Cafe Casinos on their lands.
The constitutional amendment came about largely because the bills passed by the state senate and the state house are very different and no middle-ground can be reached. One of the bigger issues involves which games are allowed, if online casinos will be allowed and the locations of games. The senate bill mainly just allows slot machines and video poker machines to be placed at horse and dog racing tracks, the house bill allows almost full placement of casinos throughout the state. And as mentioned, the Seminole tribe is against both bills for fear of competition, but also completely against the house bill because the current Seminole tribe gambling laws require profit-sharing with the state, something that would not be required by other new casinos opened under the house bill.
But the writing is on the wall and Florida does not want to see happen to it the same as happened to NJ when nearby states moved past it with passing bills that allowed liberal gambling regulations. This is especially true in South Florida with ship gambling and NW Florida where nearby states allow casinos to operate.
The constitutional amendment is a way for the casino industry to break the political mess between the house and senate. The constitutional amendment is closer to the house bill and now that it has been approved by the Supreme Court, it requires 700,000 signatures to continue. The reason for the trip to the Supreme Court was that opposition groups contended that the wording of the ballet initiative was deceiving. Once the constitutional amendment is approved, it will be much easier for the house and senate to create laws around it to deal with issue such as online gambling and sports gambling.