DraftKings and FanDuel have contributed more than $20 million to fund a ballot initiative hoping to expand gambling in Florida. The ballot measure would legalize sports betting at all pari-mutuels, professional sports stadiums and arenas, and throughout the state where betters could have access to a mobile sports betting platform.
The two corporations were left out of the negotiations between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, leading to the Seminole Gaming Compact. Subsequently, the political action committee, Florida Education Champions, began accepting contributions to back the 2022 ballot initiative.
The ballot measure would create a tax on all gaming transactions with the revenue going to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund within the Florida Department of Education. The specific working of the ballot summary indicates the sweeping expansion of sports betting.
“Authorizes sports and event betting under Florida law at professional sports venues and pari-mutuel facilities and statewide via online sports betting platforms by entities authorized to conduct online sports betting, and by Native American tribes with a Florida gaming compact, only for persons age 21 years or older. Requires legislative action to regulate sports betting. Legislature may tax betting revenues, and all such taxes are required to supplement the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.”
Florida Education Champions has been mailing petitions to Floridians, and their site offers a place for people to request them.
“Floridians, want to bring @DKSportsbook to Florida?” the organization posted on Twitter. “Request your petition today! #FLEdChamps #DraftKings”
— Florida Education Champions (@FloridaEdChamps) October 19, 2021
One of the stipulations of the Seminole Gaming Compact is the requirement for the tribe to make annual payments to the state. However, if a competitor enters the Florida market, the tribe’s payments to the state will be reduced.
“The compact was designed to be severable on sports betting,” said Rep. Randy Fine (R- District 53). “Would the Tribe have to pay us less? Yes. But the fact of the matter is that revenue could very well be made up and then some through commercial [sports betting] because you can charge commercial sports betting whatever you want.”
The tribe have offered their vocal opposition to the effort by the corporations.
“This is a political Hail Mary from out-of-state corporations trying to interfere with the business of the people of Florida,” said Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the Seminole Tribe.
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