Gambling initiative backers doubled down in November – Florida Politics

December 12, 2021 by No Comments

Two organizations trying to get gambling expansion initiatives onto Florida’s 2022 ballot doubled down on their stakes in November, spending more than $10 million apiece that month trying to collect petition signatures.

In the case of Florida Voters in Charge, the Las Vegas Sands-backed committee seeking voter permission to build a North Florida casino, it was nearly an all-in move. That committee spent just about all the money it had left, $11.4 million, in November.

Florida Voters in Charge‘s previous biggest stake was placed in September, when it launched its statewide petition drive by spending about $5.5 million.

The other group, Florida Education Champions, backed by the two big national daily fantasy sports platforms, wants voter permission to open up sports gambling to all. That group spent $10.5 million in November pushing its petitions in Florida.

They’ve now combined to spend $54 million on their petition efforts, and neither is half-way yet toward the 891,589 verified signatures needed to qualify for the 2022 statewide ballot.

Florida Education Champions replenished its funds in November as FanDuel put another $4.4 million of its money on the table. So the committee headed into December with a little over $10 million left to play. So far, FanDuel has given Florida Education Champions $15.5 million, and DraftKings $22.7 million.

Florida Education Champions now has spent about $26.8 million, and has gotten 172,000 petition signatures verified toward its constitutional amendment proposal, according to the most recent updates posted by the Florida Secretary of State.

Florida Voters in Charge has now spent $27.4 million and has gotten 246,000 petition signatures verified toward its constitutional amendment proposal.

Las Vegas Sands has provided $27 million of that committee’s money, and the Poarch Creek Band of Indians of Alabama has kicked in another $1 million. Going into December, Florida Voters in Charge had about $600,000 left.

Committee representatives for both initiatives have maintained they have a lot more signatures in hand but they haven’t gotten them through the counties’ and state’s verification bureaucracies yet, so they’re not showing up as counted yet by the Florida Secretary of State.

Both groups also maintained they will make sure they put enough money on the table to succeed.

Time is running out for them. The accepted goal is they each should get all the petitions turned in by the end of this year — less than three weeks, with holidays in the middle. They must have enough signatures verified by February, and the verification process takes time.

Both initiatives are being opposed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has the lion’s share of the state’s gambling …….



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