Online betting company FanDuel contributed $4.38 million in November toward the political committee Florida Education Champions (FEC) in an increased effort to broadly legalize sports betting in Florida through a constitutional amendment.
FEC, a political committee that seeks to expand online sports gambling beyond the recently stalled — and now rejected — Seminole Tribe Compact is expected, if enacted, to generate $350 million in state and local tax revenue annually through sports betting, including $247 million that would be directed to the Florida Department of Education’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.
FanDuel and DraftKings, the two main contributors to FEC, aim to secure placement on the November 2022 ballot for sports and event betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities, and statewide via online sports betting platforms.
FEC has gone on the offensive, pushing out a new series of advertisements seeking petition signatures, of which they would need 900,000 to add their provision to voter ballots next year.
“It’s official. We are now the only game in town when it comes to legalizing online sports betting in our state with all revenue going to supplement public education funding,” the ad states. “Our initiative provides a competitive sports betting marketplace in the state of Florida.
Amid the shutdown of the Seminole Gaming Compact – and the Hard Rock betting app that comes with it – competing sportsbooks see the winter months as ample opportunity to reach their petition goals.
FanDuel has contributed $14.38 million, while DraftKings has contributed $22.71 million, according to a newly filed finance report.
A U.S. district judge struck down the Seminole Compact in November, ending what served as a short-lived gambling monopoly in the state. The ruling, made by Judge Dabney Friedrich, was largely predicated on the location of where bets would be placed. U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, on behalf of the Seminole Tribe, emphasized the Compact’s provision that online bets were deemed to take place only in the location where a bet was received by the Tribe’s computer servers located on Seminole lands.
“Although the Compact “deems” all sports betting to occur at the location of the Tribe’s “sportsbooks” and supporting servers,” Friedrich ruled, citing prior legal precedence. “This Court cannot accept that fiction.”
According to the most recent update given by Florida Secretary of the State Laurel M. Lee, FEC currently has 172,000 verified signatures on its petition, though representatives maintain that they have a lot more unverified signatures on hand.