According to a new Tampa Bay Times/10News WTSP poll released this week, Tampa Bay, Florida residents are evenly divided on the issue of expanded gambling. The poll which queried over 600 voters in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties showed 11 percent undecided while 45% favored and 44% were opposed to expanded gambling. Interestingly, 64% wanted Daily Fantasy Sports to continue as is or with regulation, while only 18% would like to see the pastime banned.
Demographics related to the polled voters showed that the a majority of the younger crowd with a preference was more in favor of expanded gambling while most of those over 55 years of age were opposed. Bare majorities of 51% went to men favoring and women opposing.
Florida news has been fairly inundated with gambling issues over the last years with the most widely reported issue being the expiration of the Seminole Tribe‘s gambling compact with the state, and the subsequent new agreement reached with Gov. Rick Scott recently. The new agreement gives the tribe 20 years to share increased revenue with state and lets them expand their table game offerings from blackjack alone to craps and roulette. The deal has yet to be approved by both houses of lawmakers, who are scheduled to convene the new year in Tallahassee on January 12th.
Pundits and analysts have predicted the agreement is anything but a slam dunk deal as it upsets current balances and prohibitions while opening up slots gaming at a Palm Beach dog track, opens blackjack gaming at existing tracks in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and allows a new casino in Miami-Dade. Disney and resort owners are against the agreement. Others note that a provision in the agreement that would “decouple” horse racing from gambling offerings would be a death knell for live racing in the state, as an active racetrack would no longer be a requirement for offering some gambling games.