Push to get sports betting on 2022 ballot would challenge Seminole Tribe

Sports betting in the state of Florida has been legal for 10 days, but not a single bet has been placed. 

While they work to open up shop, DraftKings and FanDuel have invested $10 Million each into the Florida Education Champions. The recently created political committee is working to gather signatures for a petition to get a sports betting amendment on the ballot in 2022. 

"We believe the Seminoles should not have a monopoly on the online gaming that is now available in Florida," said Florida Education Champions spokesperson Christina Johnson.

To get their amendment on the ballot, the Florida Education Champions will need to collect nearly 900,000 confirmed signatures by February of 2022 to get it on the ballot in November of next year.

"We have about 250,000 petitions that are out there right now at various local supervisors and elections offices waiting to get validated," said Johnson. 

Their proposed legislation would open up online sports betting statewide to any legal sports betting platforms. They also specifically require any tax revenue to supplement the Florida Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. 

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"We’re expecting that to generate hundreds of millions of dollars towards education," said Johnson. 

Currently, the Seminole Tribe has exclusive rights to sports betting after the State signed and approved the Seminole Gaming Compact. This lucrative deal guarantees Florida will make $2.5 billion in revenue in the first five years of the agreement. 

"It gives the tribe forms of gambling that are illegal otherwise within the state so this is in defiance of federal law number one. Two, it’s in defiance of Florida’s Constitution that gives voters a final say," said President of No Casinos John Sowinski.  

RELATED: US officials approve Florida-Seminole sports betting deal

No Casinos is one of the groups behind a federal lawsuit against the compact that will face a hearing on November 5th in Washington, DC. Even though they are against betting, they aren’t opposed to sports betting on the ballot because they believe the people will vote it down. 

"I think it’s pretty uphill because more voters are turned off than turned on by it," said Sowinski. 

Sowinski said anything is possible during that court hearing on November 5. A judge could make a ruling on that day and potentially squash sports betting all together or give it the green light. There could also be months of litigation.  

In the meantime, some have speculated the tribe’s sportsbooks would open in mid-November but a Seminole Tribe spokesperson tells FOX 35 News that they don’t have any date set. 

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