Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. has given $250,000 to a political committee behind a proposed constitutional amendment to slow down the expansion of gambling in Florida.

“Voters in Charge” is seeking to put an amendment on the November 2018 ballot, with language approved by the Florida Supreme Court last month.

State records show John Sowinski, president of the No Casinos anti-gambling committee, is the main contact person for Voters in Charge, which is based in Tallahassee.

The group’s website says: “For far too long, gambling interests have flooded Florida’s political system with campaign contributions and lobbyists, pushing an agenda that eventually would inundate the state with Las Vegas-style casinos. It is time to restore the time-honored standard of requiring voter approval for any casino gambling.”

The amendment, titled “Voter Control of Gambling in Florida” gives voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in Florida.

According to the to the petition: “This amendment requires a vote by citizens’ initiative pursuant to Article XI, section 3, in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law. This section amends this Article; and also affects Article XI, by making citizens’ initiatives the exclusive method of authorizing casino gambling.”

That means any future casino-style games would need voter approval.

Voters in charge will need 683,149 voter signatures to be included on the ballot. The group is already received 74,626 valid signatures, the Florida Division of Elections website shows.

In April, Charge raised $287,675 with $250,000 of that from Disney Worldwide Services. Another $30,000 came from the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, state records show.


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