DraftKings CEO Believes FL Sports Betting Proposal Will Be On The 2024 Ballot

Written By Steve Schult on February 18, 2022
Florida Sports Betting Proposal

An effort by DraftKings and FanDuel to get its FL sports betting proposal on the 2022 ballot was defeated earlier this year. However, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins believes it won’t be long before there is success on that front.

In an earnings call on Friday, Robins said that he was “very confident” that the issue would be on the ballot by 2024.

The company joined forces with fellow online sportsbook FanDuel in a signature-gathering effort last year. But ultimately, the initiative fell short of the required number of signatures to get legal sports betting in the hands of Florida voters.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis entered into a new compact with the Seminole Tribe last year that would legalize sports betting. But the compact used a “hub-and-spoke” model that would make the tribe the focal point of the market.

As a result, outside companies could get shut out of Florida. The possibility sparked the ballot initiative efforts.

Legal battle gives hope for non-Seminole sportsbooks

The Florida legislature and the Federal Department of the Interior passed the compact. Subsequently, an ownership group of a pair of Florida pari-mutuels filed lawsuits over the sports betting structure.

The Havenick family, which owns the Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino, filed state and federal suits. They argued that giving the Seminoles exclusivity over internet and mobile sports betting violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The IGRA states that all betting must be done on tribal land. The Havenicks claimed that since online betting was available statewide, it violates federal standards.

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the state-level suit, but a federal judge ruled in favor of the pari-mutuels last November. The ruling put a temporary stop to Florida sports betting.

However, the appeals process began, and the legal battle could be a lengthy one.

It’s important to note that the roadblock came at the federal level. In other words, the state legislature and court system are both on board with bringing sports betting to Florida.

The longer the fight plays out in the court, the more time sports betting giants like DraftKings and FanDuel have to take a second shot at the ballot proposal.

Optimism over FL sports betting proposal was the bright spot of the call

Robins’ statement about Florida wasn’t false or even misleading. But the optimism was just a small bit of good news for an otherwise disastrous day for the Boston-based sportsbook.

The company released its fourth-quarter earnings Friday, which revealed a net loss of $326.3 million for the three-month period.

Those figures are worse than the $242.7 million the company lost the previous quarter. DraftKings actually saw a massive 46.9% revenue growth to $473.3 million. But the company cited increased costs as the reason for the widened net loss gap.

In response to the news, DraftKings stock plummeted more than 21% on Friday, finishing the day at $17.29. This is a steep drawdown after the company’s stock was at all-time highs of $74.38 last summer.

Photo by Shutterstock / roibu
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Steve Schult

As Managing Editor of PlayFL, Steve will stay on top of all things related to the Florida gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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