After this year's failure

DraftKings CEO "very confident" in success of potential Florida sports betting ballot initiative for 2024

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins.
Reading time 1:52 min

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins is confident in a potential Florida sports betting ballot initiative for 2024, the executive told investors in a fourth-quarter earnings call on Friday. The news comes as a previous citizens’ initiative to legalize sports gaming in the Sunshine State, backed and funded by both DraftKings and FanDuel, failed placement on the November 2022 ballot last month.

“We are exploring all options to ensure that Floridians get that opportunity as soon as possible,” Robins said in the call. “If we were to refile, we are very confident that, given the extended time frame, we will be able to qualify for the 2024 ballot.”

The DraftKings-backed petition drive for the 2022 ballot sought to authorize sports betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities and statewide via online platforms. It missed the February 1 date to submit nearly 900,000 valid signatures.

Sponsored by political committee Florida Education Champions, the petition campaign only managed to gather about half of the signatures required. The proposal called for sports betting tax revenues to be steered toward the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund to support public schools: DraftKings contributed more than $20 million to the initiative.

The next opportunity to bring the citizens’ initiative forward is 2024, as a new petition drive cannot be attempted for the next two years. Should the effort succeed in 2024, it would see the launch of legal Florida sports gaming in 2025.

But DraftKings’ efforts to bring sports wagering to the Sunshine State are not the only ones. Their interests clash with a gaming compact signed last year between Florida and the Seminole Tribe, which granted exclusive control over retail and mobile betting to the tribal nation.

While the deal was eventually struck down in federal court after it was found it violated federal Indian gaming law, the state is now appealing the decision. The US Department of Justice is moving forward through three different lines of appeal: contesting the judge’s decision to even hear the case, contesting the decision, and contesting whether the judge went “too far.”

The 30-year gaming compact between the state and the tribe was signed in April last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis. It called for the Seminoles to pay the state at least $2.5 billion over the first five years in exchange for sole control over sports wagering in Florida, plus the option to add roulette and craps to its operations.

However, even if the appeal is in favor of the Seminole-Florida compact, which would be against DraftKings’ interests, the sports betting giant would still be able to attempt a new ballot initiative in 2024. As it stands now, the future of sports betting in the state remains unknown.

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