Ruling it was “outright trickeration” Circuit Judge Karen Gievers has ordered Amendment 13, which bans wagered greyhound racing in Florida off the November ballot. It’s a significant victory for greyhound owners and breeders who faced an uphill battle against the better funded anti-racing opposition.
Judge Gievers ruled the ballot title and summary were misleading because Floridians would assume a “yes” vote would be an outright ban on greyhound racing. It would not. The proposed amendment bans live greyhound racing where bets are placed on the outcome of the race. It requires dog racing to stop at Florida tracks by 2020, but allows other forms of gambling – like poker and slot machines – to continue.
The Florida Greyhound Association, which represents greyhound owners and breeders, filed the lawsuit to remove the ballot language. The group is already preparing for a certain appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
“Judge Gievers was very judicial and very thorough in her ruling,” said Jack Cory who represents the Florida Greyhound Association. “The State of Florida should not use taxpayer dollars to appeal this case. The proponents got a donation of $1.5 million last week…they should use their own money not taxpayer dollars,” added Cory who mentioned the donation given by legendary actress Doris Day.
The amendment was placed on the ballot by the Constitutional Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years and recommends additions to Florida’s Constitution. The language was pushed by out-of-state groups like Grey2K, an opponent of Greyhound racing.
Proponents of the ban were scheduled to start nearly $2 million in television advertising in October. Those plans are now on hold pending appeal, which will go directly to the Florida Supreme Court.