DraftKings, Barstool Turn Up Florida Sports Betting Heat, But Is it Too Late?

Written By Brad Allen on January 14, 2022
Florida sports betting

Sportsbook operators are upping the ante in their bid to place a Florida sports betting question on the ballot in November.

DraftKings is now offering free bets for all FL sports betting customers if they get the 892,000 signatures needed. That is $100 for every FL customer, up to $1 million.

Operators want the ballot question to open the market beyond the Hard Rock offering from the Seminole Tribe. The tribe has exclusivity over mobile FL sports betting, which it attempted to start this year before shutting down following a court defeat of its governing compact with the state.

The hero Florida sports betting needs?

The operator might also have asked a rival for some social media clout.

Recently embattled Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy posted an emergency press conference on Thursday to 2.7 million Twitter followers and 4 million Instagram followers.

In a video titled, “I Am Here to Save Sports Gambling in Florida”:

“Our competitors, who trash me behind closed doors, now they’re asking for my help,” Portnoy said.

“They know I’m the king of Florida. Barstool Sportsbook, FanDuel, DraftKings, we all can be here but we need to to get it on the ballot.

“Let the voters decide in November or do you just want the Seminoles? Because you’re not going to be able to shop online, you’re not getting promos. You’re not getting the Sweep 6 this weekend and it’s bad for people. 

“We need one million signatures by the end of January. We’ve already been working. They’ve turned to me to finish the deal, the closer.”

Portnoy told Floridians to text ‘win’ to 888-922-2240 text to acquire the relevant forms to fill out.

Tight finish upcoming

The Florida Education Champions initiative, backed by FanDuel and DraftKings, needs 892,000 verified signatures by February 1. As of Thursday, it had 323,000 signatures.

Earlier this week, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins also took to Twitter to urge Floridians to sign the initiative.

“We only have about 10 days left so time is of the essence,” Robins said. “This is going to be close.”

On Friday, DraftKings said it would give $100 to every FL customer if they reached the requisite signatures.

Too late for Florida sportsbooks?

Time is indeed of the essence. The initiative needs more than 30,000 signatures a day between now and the end of the month. In addition, signatures can take up to 30 days to verify. 

That means there is a chance this effort for widespread Florida sports betting is already too late. LSR legal analyst John Holden was pessimistic about the initiative getting over the line last week, especially when factoring in opposition from the Seminole Tribe.

In the meantime, Floridians have no legal betting at all. The Seminole’s Hard Rock Sportsbook app was pulled in December after a string of legal defeats.

That decision is also being appealed.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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