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Genting money funds apparent push for gambling ballot initiative

Genting Group appears to be intensifying its push to allow voters to make the final decision on whether Las-Vegas style gambling comes to South Florida.

Recently released financing reports show a political action group linked to the Malaysia-based conglomerate is spending big on an apparent campaign to get voters to approve a constitutional amendment in favor of resort-style casinos.

The gaming giant failed to win legislative approval from lawmakers earlier this year, despite spending millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions. Now a Genting-linked political committee — New Jobs and Revenue For Florida — is directing funds towards a potential 2014 voter petition drive, which could offer an alternative path to accomplishing the goal of building multi-billion-dollar casino resorts in South Florida.

"New Jobs and Revenue for Florida is an exploratory effort to consider whether or not there are ways to have more entertainment options in Florida,” said committee spokesperson Brian Hughes.

Campaign finance records show the political action committee spent nearly $600,000 in the last three months on voter-petition consultants, constitutional scholars and pollsters who have worked for Gov. Rick Scott.

The spending included $50,000 to Nation Voter Outreach, a Nevada-based political consulting firm that, according to its website, specializes in “organizing signature drives to qualify issues and candidates for the ballot.”

Read more here.