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Multiple efforts are being made in Florida to battle the Seminole Tribe’s existing monopoly on gambling and sports betting in the state, a market potentially worth billions of dollars that has, for a long time, been handled by those native interests only.
Now outside sportsbooks want a piece of that action, so several groups have been working towards getting an initiative on the next Florida ballot that would allow for groups other than the Seminoles to legally participate in the Florida sports betting and casino gambling markets.
The idea is to let Florida voters decide what type of gambling market they want in their state, and one Political Action Committee (PAC) called the Florida Education Champions (FEC) has been attempting to collect enough valid signatures to get one such initiative to the constituents.
To do this, as we’ve reported the FEC needed 891,589 verified signatures by February 1, but as of late last week, their total was just 475,325, so the group would have needed to collect the other 416,264 John Hancocks in just days, an impossible task that forced the PAC to kill their initiative last Friday.
It represents a loss for Florida voters who should have a voice on this issue according to Brendan Bussmann, a partner at the consulting firm Global Market Advisors who told the press:
It’s unfortunate that the voters will not have their say on their ability to add sports betting to the state of Florida. Not only is this because of challenges experienced by the committee and their effort, but also because of parties that blocked the effort that supposedly were supportive of the voters having a say.
That’s not to say that the FEC is throwing in the towel just yet.
The signatures the FEC have collected became invalid on February 1, but, according to that group’s spokesperson Christina Johnson, the PAC still has plans to move forward with their efforts to let the Florida voters decide, telling the media that her group will consider…
…all options in the months ahead to ensure that Floridians have the opportunity to bring safe and legal sports betting to the state.
Whether the FEC can figure out a different pathway to work for what they want, other groups in Florida are currently fighting for the same cause.
Other PACs are also attempting to get similar initiatives on Florida’s November ballot, with one such group being the Florida Voters in Charge (FVC), a political committee funded by the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
According to the state Department of Elections website, that PAC had 730,243 verified signatures as of last week, but that is still far from the goal especially considering they did not collect a set number of signatures per district in the Sunshine State.
The other path to open sports betting in Florida is if the Seminole Tribe decides to rework its compact with the state to allow for more outsider competition, which would give bettors more choices as well as put an end to the fight so that all parties can get back to making money.
Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding 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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