Florida Education Champions reported $20 million in its committee coffers on Monday as two major sports betting operators — DraftKings and FanDuel — fueled a ballot amendment that would amend the Florida Constitution in 2022 and expand online sports gambling beyond the proposed Seminole Tribe Compact.
The newly-established sports-betting committee, formed to secure placement on the November 2022 ballot to authorize sports and event betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities, and statewide via online sports betting platforms, made the announcement after filing a campaign finance record today, touting two $10 million contributions made by the colossal sports betting platforms.
“We are supporting a petition campaign in Florida seeking to add a question pertaining to sports betting to the Florida statewide ballot in 2022. As part of that effort, DraftKings provided Florida Education Champions with critical funding to ensure that Floridians have the opportunity to vote on a sports betting framework that would provide access to the best sports betting experience while increasing funding for Florida’s public education system,” said Griffin Finan, Vice President-Government Affairs, DraftKings.
“It is our shared goal to have a safe, legal and regulated market for offering online sports betting in the Sunshine State. Once passed by Florida voters in November 2022, this initiative will ensure that the State of Florida shares in the sports wagering revenue that is currently going entirely to the offshore, illegal market,” added Cory Fox, Vice President, Government Affairs, FanDuel.
The ballot amendment would expand Florida’s sports betting scene, allowing fans and patrons the ability to place bets at games, sporting venues, and part-mutuels across the Sunshine State. Florida Education Champions, a PAC formed in June 2021, added that the expansion of online sports betting could also generate millions of dollars in revenue that could go toward supplementing Florida’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, funded mostly by the Florida Lottery.
“Thank you to DraftKings and FanDuel for stepping up to the plate in an incredible way to kick off our amendment process that stands to help all Floridians. Our amendment will direct hundreds of millions of additional dollars toward Florida’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund and open up the market for online sports betting to competition,” said David Johnson, Chairman, Florida Education Champions.
In the campaign finance report, the PAC noted that they compiled the massive haul just days before a new law set a cap on contributions at $3,000 per individual per campaign. That law (SB 1890), which the legislature passed in 2021 and went into effect on July 1, limits contributions made to political committees seeking ballot amendment approval to $3,000 per entity.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has vowed to fight the ballot initiative, but did not elaborate on how they plan to proceed.
“This is millions of out-of-state corporate dollars to try and manipulate the people of Florida, who are smarter than that,” said Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner. “They think they can buy their way into the state. Our team intends to use our Florida dollars to protect the interests of the people of Florida.”