A political committee that unsuccessfully tried to put a sports-betting initiative on the 2022 ballot received a $4 million contribution in March from a company tied to gambling facilities in Miami-Dade County and Southwest Florida.
The committee known as Florida Education Champions received the contribution on March 4 from Southwest Florida Enterprises, Inc., according to a newly filed finance report. Southwest Florida Enterprises is headed by the Havenick family, which has long operated Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida.
Florida Education Champions announced in late January that it would not have enough petition signatures by a Feb. 1 deadline to put the sports-betting initiative on the 2022 ballot.
The measure called for authorizing sports betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities, and statewide via online platforms.
The proposal would have steered tax revenues from sports betting toward what is known as the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund to supplement public school dollars.
Florida Education Champions could try to put the measure on the 2024 ballot, though it would have to start a new petition-gathering drive.