FanDuel and DraftKings executives are among the directors of the new initiative trying to bring mobile sports betting to Florida.
The so-called Florida Education Champions filed a ballot initiative this week trying to put mobile sports betting to a referendum.
Multiple news outlets reported that sportsbook operators were behind the effort, but corporation filings make it clear.
The political action lists three directors:
- Cory Fox, the VP of Government Affairs at FanDuel
- Griffin Finan, the VP of Government Affairs at DraftKings
- Jeremy Kudon, a partner at lobbying firm Orrick who has ties to the companies
The PAC was incorporated June 14.
What is PAC trying to achieve in FL sports betting?
The PAC filed a ballot initiative on Thursday that would ask Floridians whether they want to authorize mobile wagering in the state.
Gambling expansion needs to be approved via referendum in Florida per a 2018 constitutional amendment. Whether the recent deal signed between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe falls under this is an unanswered question.
Why are sportsbooks backing this initiative?
The new gaming compact that legalized Florida sports betting last month gave control of the market to the Seminole Tribe.
Other operators can enter the market, but only as skins on Hard Rock Digital technology. Hard Rock is the gaming arm of the Seminole.
In other words, FanDuel or DraftKings would have to put their brand on top of Hard Rock’s platform.
Friction point for FL sports betting operators
Operators don’t want to give up that control, or hand over their customer databases to another operator.
Skins would also have to pay 40% of revenue to the Seminole Tribe.
In short, it’s not an attractive proposition for external sportsbooks, so they are looking for another route to market.
A ‘political Hail Mary’
The Seminole Tribe, however, was not happy with the new initiative.
A Seminole spokesperson described it as a “political Hail Mary from out-of-state corporations trying to interfere with the business of the people of Florida”.
The statement continued:
“They couldn’t stop Florida’s new gaming compact, which passed by an overwhelming 88% ‘yes’ vote from Florida’s elected legislators and enjoys 3-1 support from Floridians and guarantees $2.5 billion in revenue sharing. The guarantee is the largest commitment by any gaming company in U.S. history.”
What next for FL sports betting initiative?
The initiative needs 891,589 signatures to make the ballot in 2022.
That’s around 7% of FL adults.
Should it make it to the ballot, it would need at least 60% of the vote to pass.