Big backers for Florida referendum initiative

DraftKings Incorporated and FanDuel Group have reportedly thrown their substantial financial weight behind an effort that is attempting to bring legalized online sportsbetting to the southern American state of Florida.

According to a Friday report from the Miami Herald newspaper, the pair are the leading backers of the Florida Education Champions political action committee (PAC) that is lobbying in favor of the Sport and Event Betting Ballot Initiative. The source detailed that this measure is seeking to hold a referendum in November of next year that would ask voters across ‘The Sunshine State’ for permission to legalize online sportsbetting.

Proposed particulars:

Should the electorate subsequently approve this referendum and the Sport and Event Betting Ballot Initiative reportedly envisions allowing firms already present in at least ten other American states, which would include DraftKings Incorporated and FanDuel Group, to begin offering their online sportsbetting services to Florida punters. The newspaper detailed that the scheme moreover envisions such operations going live from June of 2023 with any resultant tax proceeds being specifically set aside for local educational programs.

Enlarged entry:

The Miami Herald reported that the guidelines of the Sport and Event Betting Ballot Initiative could also immediately benefit the BetMGM service from American land-based casino operator MGM Resorts International and British iGaming behemoth Entain while allowing ‘other entities and organizations if authorized in accordance with general law’ to enter the Florida online sportsbetting market from around July of 2024.

Predicted problems:

However, the PAC’s efforts are reportedly directly at odds with the 30-year gaming compact Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently inked with the casino-operating Seminole Tribe of Florida. The newspaper explained that this arrangement gave the federally-recognized tribe a statewide monopoly on all land-based sportsbetting while leaving the door open for an analogous arrangement regarding online sports wagering so long any Internet servers were located on tribal lands.

Dormant dissolvability:

The Miami Herald reported that the sports wagering section of the state’s new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida may ultimately not withstand a legal challenge and could be separated without upsetting the remainder of the agreement. Randy Fine is a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives and he purportedly told the newspaper that the agreement ‘was designed to be severable on sportsbetting.’

Fine reportedly proclaimed…

“Would the Seminole Tribe of Florida have to pay us less? Yes. But the fact of the matter is that revenues could very well be made up and then some through commercial sportsbetting because you can charge commercial sportsbetting whatever you want.”

Subsequent steps:

The newspaper reported that Florida Education Champions is now endeavoring to have the text of its proposed ballot initiative officially approved by the Florida Supreme Court in advance of collecting 891,589 valid signatures of support from Florida voters. If it manages to clear these hurdles, the campaign will still purportedly be obliged to clear a 60% threshold at the polls all while keeping below a new $3,000 limit on individual contributions to local PACs.