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A funny thing related to sports betting happened on the way to the voting machines this Election Day.
The Miami Dolphins are actively telling people to vote so that they might have legal sports betting in Florida in the future.
The scenario where an NFL team — or a team from any other US pro sports league — would advocate for such a position would have been unthinkable even a year ago. But that’s the brave new world we find ourselves in as legal sports gambling proliferates in the US.
The Dolphins took to Twitter this week to implore people to vote against an amendment to the state constitution that would make it more difficult to change gambling law in the future:
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 5, 2018
The tweet was later deleted, but here is the image:
Amendment Three does not actually deal with sports betting, specifically. But if it passes, it would mean that any future gaming expansion in the state would have to go through a referendum, not simply through legislative votes.
That would make the hurdle to legalize sports wagering — a topic which would already be controversial in the state — even higher. It’s already tough enough to get the Seminole Tribe, which holds most of the cards when it comes to gaming issues, to soften its stance on just about anything.
Creating another barrier to changing gaming law could mean the death of any gaming expansion in Florida in the future.
FanDuel and DraftKings are among the entities that have spent money pushing the “No” side of the ballot measure. Disney Worldwide Services — which owns both Disney World and ESPN, among a lot of other things — has been pushing for a “Yes” vote alongside the Seminoles.
For the amendment to take effect, 60 percent of voters would have to approve it.
Beyond the situation on the ground in Florida, the breakneck speed at which pro sports leagues have changed their tune on sports gambling will not let up. Sports betting deals between pro teams and casinos or sportsbook operators have been coming fast and furious.
Just six months ago, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA were still active participants in a court case to keep in place the federal sports betting ban in place.
And now, at least one team is unabashedly stumping for the future of legal sports gambling at the state level. What a time to be alive.