DraftKings CEO confident in potential 2024 Florida sports betting ballot initiative
Despite the window shutting on a 2022 citizens’ initiative to legalize Florida sports betting, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins is already confident in a potential 2024 ballot initiative that would see the launch of legalized Florida sports betting in 2025.
A DraftKings and FanDuel backed sports betting initiative failed to reach the required verified signature total for placement on the November 2022 general election ballot. The initiative needed 891,599 verified signatures to secure a place on the ballot and it finished with 514,841, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
2024 is next ballot opportunity
If the initiative had been placed on the 2022 ballot, Florida voters would have been able to approve or deny a motion to legalize sports and event betting under Florida law at professional sports venues and pari-mutuel facilities. Additionally, it would have approved online sports betting throughout the state for qualified sportsbooks and Native American tribes with a Florida gaming compact.
Sports betting tax revenues would have supplemented a state education trust fund.
Another initiative cannot be attempted for the next two years, but Robins said DraftKings is confident it can successfully place an initiative on the 2024 ballot if it choses to go that route.
“We are exploring all options to ensure that Floridians get that opportunity as soon as possible. And if we were to refile, we are very confident that, given the extended time frame, we will be able to qualify for the 2024 ballot,” Robins said in his fourth-quarter earnings call on Friday, Feb. 18.
Over 1 million individuals signed petitions to legalize Florida sports betting in less than eight months, Robins said. While only about half of the signatures were verified by the February deadline, he said it shows that Floridians do want the opportunity to vote on a competitive mobile sports betting market in the state.
However, if an initiative is successfully placed on the 2024 ballot and approved by state voters, online sports betting likely wouldn’t launch in Florida until mid-2025 at the earliest.
Florida online sports betting may depend on initiative
A citizen’s initiative may be the best option for those in the state who are hoping for online sports betting outside of Seminole Tribe control. The Seminole Tribe and the state agreed to a gaming compact in the Summer of 2021 that gave exclusive control over retail and online sports betting to the tribe. However, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ruled it ran afoul of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Friedrich determined the compact violated the conditions set forth by IGRA that limits tribal gaming to the confines of tribal lands. The Seminole Tribe and Florida are both appealing the decision, which likely won’t be decided until late 2022 or early 2023, according to gaming law and sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach.
The federal appeal over the Florida sports betting compact won't be decided until late 2022 or 2023. Per the Court's order, the parties have until 3/21 to submit a proposed format for the briefing of the consolidated appeal. Still no briefing schedule and no req. for expedition. pic.twitter.com/JOQnDEyYRm
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) February 19, 2022
Even if the appeal is in favor of the Seminole Tribe, a citizens’ ballot initiative could still be attempted in 2024.