Florida Petition Drive For Sports Betting Off And Running

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It’s official. FanDuel and DraftKings are not placing their bets on the Department of Interior or the courts approving the recent sports betting compact in Florida. Instead, they are moving forward with an effort to ensure voters have a say with a statewide referendum in November 2022.

Florida Politics and Florida Phoenix both confirmed the sportsbook kings were behind the efforts.  

The referendum language, which was posted to the state website yesterday, would allow voters to approve statewide gambling that is not exclusively on tribal lands.

The highlights:

  • Authorizes sports and event betting, with all bets being taxed at a rate to be determined;
  • Sets legal betting age of 21;
  • Allows for sportsbooks through companies with a presence in at least 10 other states as well as Native American tribes who have an existing compact with the state of Florida;
  • Allows for wagers on professional, collegiate, and Olympic events.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which negotiated the compact with Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year, is opposed to the referendum.

“This is a political Hail Mary from out-of-state corporations trying to interfere with the business of the people of Florida.  They couldn’t stop Florida’s new Gaming Compact, which passed by an overwhelming 88% ‘yes’ vote from Florida’s elected legislators and enjoys 3-1 support from Floridians and guarantees $2.5 billion in revenue sharing,” Gary Bitner, a spokesperson for Seminole Gaming,  told Florida Today.

The referendum is being sponsored by a group called Florida Education Champions.  Profits the state receives from sports betting would be directed toward a public education fund. 

What’s Next For Sports Betting In Florida

Supporters of the referendum now have to get signatures from 891,589 residents, which is 8% of the total number of votes cast in the presidential election in Florida in 2020. 

Florida Politics reports supporters are under a timeline though as a result of new caps placed on contributions for political committees during the signature-gathering phases.  Come Thursday, July 1, there will be a $3,000 limit.  Opponents of the new law, however, have already filed a complaint in court and are asking for an expedited review.

 

 

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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