Florida sports betting measure would authorize online betting, benefit education
If voters approve a 2022 sports betting ballot measure, Floridians will be able to place bets at professional sports stadiums, at qualified parimutuel facilities and through Florida online sports betting programs.
The Florida Division of Elections accepted and published the 2022 Florida ballot initiative Thursday. If approved, the ballot measure would authorize sports and event betting under Florida law at professional sports venues and parimutuel facilities. It would also allow Florida online sports betting through third-party operators and by Native American tribes with a gaming compact. The measure is backed by DraftKings and FanDuel.
Florida sports betting on the 2022 ballot?
Included in the ballot measure is a specific requirement that all tax revenues from sports betting would be used to finance an Education Enhancement Trust Fund for the state.
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.
The measure would circumvent the recently approved 30-year gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe. The compact gives exclusive rights for all sports wagering to Seminole Tribe controlled sportsbooks, or qualified parimutuel permitholders to offer sports betting at their facilities.
The legality of online sports betting is still a concern for operators as the U.S. Department of the Interior reviews the deal. As written gaming compact allows for the Seminole Tribe to offer online sports betting through a “hub-and-spoke” program for qualified parimutuels and online sportsbook operators. However, throughout the process a number of representatives shared concerns that the gaming compact may not fully pass the federal review.
It has been a cause for unease throughout the proceedings for operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel, as there may be a chance the U.S. Department of the Interior declares the online sports betting component as illegal. Online sports betting could be left out of the gaming compact for good and effectively shut out third-party online sportsbook operators.
Do Floridians support sports betting?
Senator Jeffrey Brandes (R-26), a proponent of sports betting, told Saturday Down South earlier this week that he believes Florida voters overwhelmingly supports legalized sports betting in the state. It will be interesting, he noted, to discuss the ballot measure with his fellow legislators.
“I’m looking forward to discussion as the initiative gets filed with legislators who supported the compact. It will be interesting to see if they support expanding sports betting beyond the compact to the private market. Generally, Republicans should be for free and open markets, and we’ll see if that holds true when it comes to sports betting,” he told Saturday Down South.