If Florida online sports betting hopes to have a legitimate chance of launching in 2023, a 2022 voting initiative needs about 570,000 more verified signatures to appear on the November general election ballot.

With just 18 days until the Feb. 1 deadline, time is running thin on the DraftKings and FanDuel backed sports betting initiative.

Hundreds of thousands of signatures still needed

A ballot initiative to legalize online sports betting in Florida for qualified sportsbook operators, and state tribes with a current gaming compact, currently has 322,915 verified signatures, according to the Florida Division of Elections. The initiative needs 891,589 verified signatures to appear on the November 2022 ballot.

Florida Education Champions, backers of the initiative, have until Feb. 1, 2022, to submit signatures to be verified. A large push is being made for additional signatures to reach the threshold in the last two-plus weeks before the deadline.

Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, posted a video asking Florida residents to consider signing the ballot petition. Barstool Sportsbook does not as of yet have a clear road for operating in Florida.

Election supervisors typically ask for signatures to be submitted 30 days prior to the deadline. This means any signatures submitted this close to the deadline may not have the necessary time to be verified and counted towards the total.

With 18 days left until Feb. 1, the Florida Division of Election would have to verify at least 31,593 signatures per day for the ballot initiative to reach the threshold.

The math doesn’t bode well for the initiative’s future. On Dec. 28, 16 days ago, the ballot initiative had 233,527 verified signatures. It currently has 322,915 verified signatures, which works out to just over 5,586 verified signatures a day since Dec. 28. The Florida Division of Elections lists 33 total active ballot initiatives, all of which may need to have signatures verified by the county election supervisors before the Feb. 1 deadline. This all takes a tremendous amount of time, so it raises concerns that there are so many signatures still needed to be verified.

Christina Johnson, spokesperson for Florida Education Champions, said awareness for the ballot initiative is still being raised in Florida.

“Florida Education Champions continues to collect and submit petitions to local Supervisors of Elections throughout the state for validation and prior to the February 1, 2022 deadline. There has been ongoing paid media advertising on all channels and platforms designed to raise awareness and assist the paid circulator effort, and that is continuing,” Johnson told Saturday Down South.

If placed on the November ballot and approved by voters, the initiative would authorize sports and event betting under Florida law at professional sports venues and pari-mutuel facilities. Additionally, it would approve online sports betting throughout the state for qualified sportsbooks and Native American tribes with a Florida gaming compact. The Florida legislature will have the ability to tax betting revenues, and all taxes will supplement a state educational trust fund, according to Florida Education Champions.

Backed by DraftKings, FanDuel

The ballot initiative is backed by both DraftKings and FanDuel, both of which have contributed millions to the cause.

Each contributed $10 million to the initiative in June. DraftKings contributed $12.7 million in October and FanDuel contributed an additional $4.4 million total over October/November, according to the Florida Division of Elections.