FanDuel Pours More Money Into Sports Betting Initiative In Florida

Written By JR Duren on December 27, 2021

FanDuel is making sure the battle for sports betting in Florida is far from over.

According to records from the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections (DOE), the well-known sportsbook and daily fantasy sports operator recently poured $4.4 million into an initiative to legalize sports betting in Florida.

The Florida Education Champions, an entity spearheading the initiative to place sports betting on the Nov. 2022 ballotreceived this sizable contribution.

FanDuel’s $4.4 million proves it’s moving forward with a plan

FanDuel’s involvement in Florida sports betting dates back to this past June. Florida DOE records show the company contributed $10 million. Competing operator DraftKings also contributed $10 million to the effort in June.

The tag-team approach sent shockwaves through the sports betting world. Two top-tier operators poured money into a plan to legalize sports betting in Florida. The news came in the wake of the Seminole Tribe of Florida signing a compact with the state that afforded the tribe exclusive rights over sports betting.

However, donations were sparse for the next four months. Then, on Oct. 20, DraftKings contributed $12.7 million, followed by FanDuel’s $4.4 million around a month later.

What does the flurry of donations mean? First, FanDuel and DraftKings likely believe they’ve got a legitimate shot at putting sports betting on the ballot in 2022.

To do so, they’ll need to gather more than 200,000 signatures to get a financial impact review from the state. After which, the duo will need a total of more than 890,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot.

What would a FanDuel/DraftKings sports betting amendment look like?

Whereas the Seminole compact allowed the tribe to have exclusive rights over sports betting, the FanDuel/DraftKings amendment would eliminate those rights after some time.

It would roll out sports betting in two tiers. The Seminole would have exclusive rights over sports betting for 20 months; after that operators meeting specific criteria would be allowed to enter the state.

According to the amendment text, allowed bets would include:

  • single-game bets
  • teaser bets
  • parlays
  • over-under moneyline
  • pools
  • exchange betting
  • in-game wagering
  • in-play bets
  • proposition bets and straight bets

The amendment requires at least 60% approval by Florida voters to move forward. If approved, any tax revenue generated from sports betting would be sent to the Florida Department of Education’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF).

Temporary Seminole exclusivity likely won’t be enough to appease the tribe

The proposed amendment does a couple of things well. First, it plays the education angle by requiring the state to use all tax revenue for the education system.

During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, public schools received nearly $900 million from the EETF, currently funded by lottery sales. Adding sports betting revenue into the mix is another win for Florida schools.

Secondly, the proposed amendment offers a buffer between when the Seminole tribe launches sports betting and non-tribal operators enter the market. The amendment says that the tribe must launch sports betting within eight months of the amendment passing and that other operators can launch beginning 20 months after the amendment passes.

That buffer, however, likely will not be enough to appease the Seminole tribe. The group has already launched a $10 million advertising effort to undermine the DraftKings/FanDuel amendment.

Photo by Marko Aliaksandr / shutterstock
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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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