DraftKings/FanDuel Florida Sports Betting Initiative Supports Education

Written By JR Duren on January 20, 2022 - Last Updated on February 25, 2022
Legal Florida sports betting will benefit education in the state

A proposed sports betting amendment by FanDuel and DraftKings is headed for approval during Florida’s Nov. 2022 elections.

Any tax revenue generated from sports betting will go to Florida’s Education Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF).

The little-known fund is an important one to understand because the FD/DK amendment will likely funnel millions of dollars to the EETF each year.

What is the Education Enhancement Trust Fund?

The EETF was created in 1987 via the Florida Public Education Lottery Act. The act gave the Florida Department of the Lottery the power to determine what percentage of lottery revenues be deposited to the EETF.

While the lottery is the EETF’s main source of funds, it has a couple of other revenue streams:

  • Taxes paid on slot machine revenues
  • Elective donations from certain businesses that file sales and use tax returns

Every year, the state legislature consults with the Department of Education (DOE) to determine how the EETF money is split up. After that, the DOE disburses the funds according to the legislature’s decision.

How the EETF helps schools

Every year, the Florida DOE releases an appropriations document. It details how much money the EETF received and how that money was spent.

For example, for the year 2020-2021, the DOE divided up EETF disbursements as follows:

  • Public schools: 36.1%
  • Student financial aid: 34.8%
  • State universities: 20.8%
  • Florida colleges: 8.3%

In terms of dollars, here’s how those percentages looked:

  • Public schools: $751.99 million
  • Student financial aid: $724.03 million
  • State universities: $431.84 million
  • Florida colleges: $172.84 million

In total, the EETF received more than $2 billion in funds during the 2020-2021 year.

The DOE’s report also details how public schools, the financial aid system, state universities, and Florida colleges spend their money.

The report indicates that public schools used roughly $660.88 million of the $751.99 million allocated as follows:

For 2020-2021

  • Class-size reduction
  • Debt
  • the Florida Education Finance Program
  • A discretionary spending account

Gambling in FL will hopefully expand after this year’s legislative voting period. With legalized sports betting, residents can plan to see a positive impact to their eduction system.

Bright futures and the EETF

In addition, the EETF has funded more than 880,000 Florida Bright Futures scholarships.

The program provides scholarships for students who graduated from FL high schools and go on to attend a qualifying state college or postsecondary program.

Eligible colleges include traditional universities and colleges like:

  • Barry University
  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • Florida State University
  • the University of Florida

Eligible postsecondary programs include:

  • the Aveda Institute
  • the Beauty and Massage Institute
  • Empire Beauty School

Looking ahead to the Nov. 2022 ballot

The DraftKings/FanDuel initiative has to gather more than 200,000 signatures to earn a financial and judicial review. After that phase, it then needs nearly 900,000 signatures to get on the 2022 ballot.

Finally, it will need to earn at least a 60% “yes” share of the vote as a last requirement.

The initiative currently has 333,763 signatures, according to the Florida Division of Elections. The attorney general made her review of the amendment on Jan. 7.

The amendment must now go to the state supreme court for its judicial and financial impact review.

Photo by Kyle S Lo / Shutterstock
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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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