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When it comes to legalizing sports betting, there is a start-and-stop battle happening in Florida, the launch of that potentially lucrative operation stalled by lawsuits filed for various reasons we have covered in the past.
One of those major factors governing how legal sports betting will unfold in the Sunshine State is the existing compact it has with the Seminole Tribe of Florida guaranteeing them the sole right to control gambling in the state.
But that essentially prevents outside operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Barstool Sports from participating in that Florida-based market, so those interests and others are now frantically collecting the signatures of Florida voters to place a sports gambling legalization measure on this year’s November ballot.
The deadline for qualifying is February 1 and, according to data from the Florida Division of Elections, signatures must “equal or exceed 8 percent of the votes cast in at least 14 of the state’s 27 congressional districts,” which turns out is just under a million signatures (891, 589).
To collect that many legitimate John Hancock’s in time, those interests are making a multi-pronged last-minute push.
If you want to get the public’s attention these days, flooding social media channels is the way to go, and it looks like that is the marketing route DraftKings and Barstool Sports are taking given the influx of Tweets, posts, and shares regarding this Florida Ballot issue.
For instance, last week DraftKings posted a Tweet that announced a promotion that rewards petition signers with “$100 DK dollars” which gives customers a starting betting kitty to get them going on the site.
Sign the petition to add sports betting to the Florida ballot!
All you have to do is print, sign, and mail in yours by Jan. 19.
If we hit the signature count by Feb. 1, Florida customers will receive $100 DK dollars.
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) January 14, 2022
Also last week, Barstool Sports’ controversial and outspoken owner David Portnoy threw his powerful voice behind the Florida sports betting measure despite it being his “enemies” asking for his help to collect signatures.
Portnoy realizes that it is in his and his customers’ best interest to open the Florida sports betting market to all, declaring on Twitter that, “I am here to save sports gambling in Florida.”
Emergency Press Conference – I Am Here to Save Sports Gambling in Florida pic.twitter.com/2Ne6DQ97D9
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 14, 2022
On the other side of this issue is a tribe of native Americans who have long been operators of Florida’s gaming scene but who are also caught in the middle of another separate battle.
As we have previously reported, the launch of legal sports betting in Florida happened late last year, but the online portion of that market was halted after a Federal Judge determined that it broke established state gaming laws and would need to be renegotiated.
Now that debate is ongoing between Florida lawmakers, tribal leaders, industry leaders, and gambling insiders as is the decision of whether to allow outside operators to participate in this so-called “sports betting monopoly,” as some insiders refer to the letting only the Seminole Tribe handle such a lucrative market.
Now that this back-and-forth Florida sports betting argument has become more public as other states rake in the tax dollars from legalizing this popular pastime, count on it to be solved relatively quickly, that is if they can get enough signatures to move this ballot forward.
Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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