A group of economists in Florida have admitted that they are unsure about the potential effects of passing a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder to expand gambling in the southern state.

Serving on the state’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference, the economists were evaluating the proposed Voter Control Of Gambling In Florida measure for possible financial impacts before forwarding their results to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Supreme Court.

The brainchild of the Voters In Charge political committee with support from Orlando-based anti-gambling group No Casinos and long-time casino antagonist John Sowinski, if passed, the Voter Control Of Gambling In Florida measure would require a state-wide vote in order to authorize casino-style games including blackjack, craps and roulette. In addition, it would take away the legislature’s ability to approve casinos but would not cover tribal operations, which are regulated under federal law.

According to a report from the Ocala Star-Banner, the economists were unable to thoroughly calculate the effects of the proposed legislation because they were unsure as to whether it would cover only prospective operations or be retrospective.

“The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues, if any, cannot be determined at this time because there are a number of uncertainties regarding the effect of the amendment on currently authorized gambling activities that have not been authorized pursuant to a citizens’ initiative,’” read a statement from the Financial Impact Estimating Conference.

The Voter Control Of Gambling In Florida measure earlier attracted some 73,800 signatures of support, which was enough to trigger its review by the Florida Supreme Court, with proponents hoping to place the proposal before voters as soon as next year.

“The primary uncertainty is whether the amendment’s effects will be prospective only or also retrospective,” read the statement from the Financial Impact Estimating Conference. “In this context, the term “prospective” means that the casino gambling activities that have been authorized prior to the effective date of the amendment will not be affected. The term “retrospective” means that casino gambling activities authorized at the time the amendment is adopted will have to cease unless they have been authorized pursuant to a citizens’ initiative.”

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