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Amendment 4

By: April Douglas
By: April Douglas

Come election day Florida voters will choose the next commander in chief as well as decide whether to expand gambling in south Florida.

Since 1978, Florida voters have rejected the expansion of gambling three times, yet Amendment 4 supporters hope the fourth time will be a charm. They're banking on the amendment's appeal to fund Florida public schools.

Wayne Blanton, the executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, says, "Support because [it] produces $500 million [in] education funding every year."

Blanton says even though the amendment legalizes slot machines in just south Florida, the entire state will reap the benefits.

The Florida School Board Association estimates Leon County schools could receive more than $500 million in the first year alone, yet Amendment 4 opponents argue the social and economic cost of expanding gambling far outweigh the profits.

Bob Milnar says, "Study after study after study has revealed that expansion of gambling to include slot machines in fact reflects an increase in crime both on the street level and the immediate areas."

The Florida Sheriff's Association says additional gambling would drain existing scarce resources of law enforcement and urges Florida voters to remain steadfast in their opposition of growing gambling.

Opponents also fear the money would act as a substitute for existing funding. Amendment 4 supporters say the slot machine revenue must be used to supplement not replace current public education funding statewide.


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