DraftKings and FanDuel put $20 million into sports-betting initiatives for the 2022 ballot

DraftKings App Icon – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Tada Images

Back in June, sports-betting giants DraftKings and FanDuel pumped $20 million into a campaign to legalize sports betting by modifying the Florida Constitution in 2022, according to campaign finance records reported on Monday by a political action committee.

Florida Education Champions, a sports-betting PAC waging the constitutional amendment campaign backed up by the sports-betting companies that would benefit from the change, announced the report. 

The multi-billion-dollar, international companies each gave $10 million to the effort to legalize sports betting statewide in Florida.

“We are supporting a petition campaign in Florida seeking to add a question pertaining to sports betting to the Florida statewide ballot in 2022,” said Griffin Finan, vice president for government affairs at DraftKings, in a statement released through Florida Education Champions.

“As part of that effort, DraftKings provided Florida Education Champions with critical funding to ensure that Floridians have the opportunity to vote on a sports betting framework that would provide access to the best sports betting experience while increasing funding for Florida’s public education system.”

FanDuel offered encouraging remarks in the same statement. 

“It is our shared goal to have a safe, legal and regulated market for offering online sports betting in the Sunshine State. Once passed by Florida voters in November 2022, this initiative will ensure that the State of Florida shares in the sports wagering revenue that is currently going entirely to the offshore, illegal market,” said Cory Fox, vice president for government affairs at FanDuel.

Florida Education Champions is marketing its constitutional amendment drive by making a pledge to dedicate tax revenue from sports betting to education.

The campaign’s finance report also confirmed that the PAC received the enormous campaign donations just a few days before a new law set a cap on contributions at $3,000 per individual per campaign. Prior to July 1, contributions to political action committees were unlimited. 

The law, passed by the Florida Legislature this spring, took effect on July 1st but quickly ran into a legal challenge. It is temporarily blocked. The PAC gained permission from the Florida Division of Elections to begin collecting petition signatures on June 24th. DraftKings’ donations arrived on both June 23rd and 24th.

The constitutional amendment campaign and PAC are not affiliated with what happened in mid-May, when the Florida Legislature ratified a 30-year compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state of Florida to conduct expanded gambling in the state. This included sports betting statewide but only under the auspices of the Seminole Tribe. This compact has not been approved by the federal government.

If the amendment efforts succeed, it would allow a variety of large sport-betting platforms to dip into that profitable market in Florida, regardless of the compact between the tribe and state government. 

“This is millions of out-of-state corporate dollars to try and manipulate the people of Florida, who are smarter than that,” Bitner said. “They think they can buy their way into the state. Our team intends to use our Florida dollars to protect the interests of the people of Florida,” said Seminole Gaming spokesman Gary Bitner.

Florida currently has a constitutional amendment in place pertaining to gambling. Amendment 3, adopted in 2018, gives voters control over expanded gambling. The amendment gives voters control over expanded gambling. The amendment requires any new gambling to be subject to statewide voter approval. 

Are you interested in Florida sports? For stories like this and much more: Florida Insider is dedicated to educating, entertaining and informing its readers about everything Florida. Easy to read content at the palm of your hands and covering the stories that matter.