Against Seminoles' monopoly

FanDuel invests additional $4.38M in political committee to open commercial sports betting in Florida

Reading time 1:49 min

FanDuel is committed to the legalization of commercial sports betting in Florida. The sports betting giant contributed a further $4.38 million in November towards the political committee Florida Education Champions (FEC), which seeks to open and expand online sports wagering in the state.

The company’s efforts seek to legalize betting through a constitutional amendment via the November 2022 ballot, beyond the now rejected state compact with the Seminole Tribe, which attempted to give a monopoly on the market to the tribal nation. According to a recent upgrade by Florida Secretary of the State Laurel M. Lee, FEC has currently gathered 172,000 verified signatures on its petition.

If enacted, FEC’s proposal would generate about $350 million in state and local tax revenue annually through sports wagering. About $247 million would be directed to the Florida Department of Education’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

FanDuel is joined by DraftKings as the two main contributors to the Florida Education Champions. Both operators aim to secure placement of their sports betting proposal on the November 2022 ballot, which would allow wagering at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities, as well as statewide betting through online sportsbooks.

But now, FEC has further taken an offensive stance through a new series of advertisements which seek to bring the political committee closer to their targeted number of signatures, reports The Capitolist. The FEC needs to gather 900,000 signatures 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.

When combined, FanDuel and DraftKings have contributed more than $37 million in backing funds to the initiative. While FanDuel has invested $14.38 million, DraftKings has contributed $22.71 million, according to finance reports filed.

So far, the political committee has spent about $26.77 million as of November 30. The deadline for submitting the total of 891,589 valid petition signatures to the state is February 1.  Representatives maintain that they have a lot more unverified signatures on hand than initially reported.

Online sportsbooks are seeking to reach their petition goals amid the shutdown of the Seminole Gaming Compact and the Hard Rock app. The deal was shut down by Judge Dabney Friedrich last month, in a ruling which concluded the compact violated federal law.

While the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act mandates state-sanctioned gambling to occur only on tribal land, the compact allowed bettors to place wagers through mobile devices anywhere within Florida as long as these were processed through computer servers on tribal property. The judge deemed this a “fiction.”