Seminole Tribe Goes On Offensive In Opposition Of 2022 Florida Sports Betting Vote

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The Seminole Tribe wants to be the only game in town when it comes to Florida sports betting, and now it is paying petition gatherers in the state to NOT collect signatures for a competing referendum in 2022.

Politico broke the story Monday afternoon.

The tribe is also paying workers to interfere with alternative petition gatherers as they collect signatures for an effort to open sports betting to others, the publication reported. As things stand, the Seminole Tribe has exclusive rights to sports betting and most gambling operations in the state. 

Seminole officials did not dispute the claims.

“[The tribe’s political operatives are] currently engaged to oppose multiple outside interests that have initially invested a combined $60 million in PAC money to hire more than a thousand people to fight the Tribe’s success,” Gary Bitner, spokesman for the Seminoles, told Politico.

Where Florida Sports Betting Stands Now

A federal judge threw out the historic compact the Seminole Tribe reached with the state of Florida that brought sports betting to the Sunshine State earlier this month

As of today, the Tribe is still accepting bets on its Hard Rock mobile app.

The case has been appealed and sits before the full U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Referendum Questions Loom In 2022

FanDuel and Draft Kings are behind an effort to open up sports betting to commercial vendors beyond the Seminole Tribe. Under Florida law, any expansion of gambling not affiliated with the tribe must first be approved by the voters. 

Proponents need 891,589 valid signatures by early 2022 to bring the measure before voters. As of this writing, they have 127,689 unofficial signatures collected.

The tribe is opposed to the referendum because it would allow competitors to enter the gambling arena. The tribe has made millions as a result of its stronghold on gambling operations in the state, including the Hard Rock Hotel and brand. 

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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