Florida online sports betting ballot initiative still needs hundreds of thousands of signatures
Hundreds of thousands of signatures still need to be verified to get a Florida online sports betting ballot initiative in front of voters for the 2022 general election.
A ballot initiative to legalize online sports betting in Florida for qualified sportsbook operators, and state tribes with a current gaming compact, currently has 233,527 verified signatures, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
To be placed on the 2022 ballot the measure must receive 891,589 valid signatures, which is 8% of the votes cast in the last presidential election. It also requires signatures equal to at least 8% of the total votes cast in the last presidential election in 14 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts.
If approved, Florida online sports betting would likely launch sometime in 2023.
Florida online sports betting for all?
Florida Education Champions, backers of the initiative, have until Feb. 1, 2022, to verify the remaining needed signatures to appear on the ballot or they do not count. Election supervisors have a maximum of 30 days to verify signatures and submit to the Florida Division of Elections, according to Ballotpedia, which sets the signature deadline realistically at Jan. 2, 2022.
The 233,527 signature number is not completely official, as there are numbers of signatures waiting to be verified by the 67 Florida county election supervisors. But time is waning if additional signatures are needed, as there is also a time specific element for the verification process.
— Florida Education Champions (@FloridaEdChamps) December 27, 2021
Florida county election supervisors have to verify signatures for other initiatives attempting to gain a spot on the 2022 general election ballot. 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 some concerns that there are so many signatures still needed to be verified.
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.