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Sports Biggest Online Gambling Sites Betting Big They Can Get Floridians To Authorize Constitutional Protection

The nation’s best-known online sports-betting platforms are wagering heavily on their ability to convince Florida voters to expand the gambling market in 2022.

Florida Education Champions, a political action committee backed almost exclusively by the betting sites FanDuel and DraftKings, has raised more than $20 million to get on the ballot next year a constitutional amendment permitting organized sports betting.

The crux of the PAC’s pitch is the same used by lottery fans: education.

The proposed amendment would allow the Legislature to tax gambling revenues, with all proceeds funneled to the state Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

According to state election records as of July 31, FanDuel and DraftKings each put up $10 million for the cause.

A total of six other donors have chipped in a combined $87.

So far, the PAC has spent about $3.6 million, records indicate. Florida Education champions has doled that out for legal advice, mailing expenses, research, with the bulk of the spending so far going to Dallas-based Advanced Micro Targeting for voter outreach.

“Floridians love their sports. The thrill of a buzzer-beater victory or the agony of a hard-fought loss, we love it all,” the group says on its website, fledchampions.com.

“Many Floridians also enjoy betting on sports – it’s a fun way to participate in the excitement of the game. By signing the Florida Education Champions petition, you can allow Floridians, 21 and older, to use their favorite online sports betting platform and ensure any new revenue MUST go to increase education funding in Florida.”

The group maintains that the amendment, if approved, could generate “hundreds of millions” of dollars for Florida, based on the action in comparably sized states like New York and Illinois.

The amendment itself would authorize sports and “event” betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities and online sports-betting platforms for people 21 or older.

It restricts the online action to gaming house that have operated in at least 10 states for at least a year, and by Native American tribes holding a gaming compact with the state of Florida. Other firms could enter the market after 20 months.

The amendment defines “betting” as wagering on “any sporting event or portion of a sporting event,” or even the “individual performance or statistics of any athlete or participant in a sporting event, or any combination thereof” in any one of several methods.

It would not include any other casino gambling now specifically listed in the state Constitution, nor fantasy sports contests. Qualified events include pros, amateurs, colleges, the Olympics or other international sports, motor sports and “any other competition, contest or event in accordance with implementing legislation or agency rule.”

Back in the spring, Gov. Ron DeSantis, with the overwhelming approval of state lawmakers, endorsed a new gambling pact that permits sports betting. Because the deal involved the Seminole tribe, it needed federal approval, which was granted two weeks ago.

Florida Education Champions note their measure “will allow more competition and enable Floridians to use their favorite sports betting platform.”

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