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
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.