Sportsbook-backed group touts economic benefits of proposal as Florida sportsbook hits legal Roa


With sports betting in Florida currently stuck in a legal quagmire, supporters of a ballot measure that could allow betting more broadly in the Sunshine State are touting a study showing significant economic benefits for their proposal.

The study was conducted by the Florida-based Washington Economics Group (WEG) for Florida Education Champions, a policy committee financially backed by sports betting operators DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Group.

Florida Education Champions aims to change the state constitution to allow sports betting in arenas, stadiums, and pari-mutuel facilities (such as poker rooms and racetracks), as well as through sports betting in line run by multi-state operators and the Seminole tribe that owns Hard Rock. .

“WEG believes that the adoption of this amendment would result in substantial positive economic benefits for Florida taxpayers,” the recently published study said. “These benefits mainly come from three sources: the annual impacts of estimated gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Florida once the market matures, the impacts of part of the current illegal betting market moving to the legal market , and the estimated increase in pari-mutuel employment, operating expenses and license fees.

The future that the study predicts is by no means a certainty, as it depends on the passage of the amendment and is based in part on the experiences of other states that have legalized sports betting. The report also estimates that the legal sports betting market in Florida could reach a level of maturity similar to that of New Jersey within three years of the ballot measure being approved.

But if Florida adopted the measure, 31,181 jobs could be sustained, $ 1.24 billion in household income generated, and more than $ 2.07 billion in gross domestic product created each year for the state due to the direct, indirect and “induced” economic effects. the study estimates. There could also be a potential of $ 350 million in state and local taxes to be collected each year, the study predicts.

“The adoption of the sports betting amendment would generate economic impacts that extend beyond those directly related to the increase in gross gaming revenues and state tax payments,” he said. ‘study. “These ‘spillover effects’ or multiplier effects are mainly the result of the impact of local industries purchasing goods and services from other local industries (called the indirect effect), as well as the increase in labor income. and the propensity of households to spend their income on goods. produced within the state and territories (called induced effect).

What passing the amendment would also do would deviate from a sports betting model that was authorized by Florida lawmakers earlier this year and is now trapped in a legal battle.

On Monday, a federal judge overturned the Home Department’s approval of a gambling deal between Florida and the Seminole tribe that granted the latter a monopoly on sports betting in the state.

The Seminoles appealed the ruling and requested a stay of the judge’s order, which was dismissed Wednesday night, according to the Miami Herald. The tribe reportedly continued to take online betting in Florida through its Hard Rock Sportsbook app which it launched in the state in early November. Retail sports betting has yet to begin at Seminole’s Florida casinos.

While Judge Dabney Friedrich rescinded federal approval of the Seminole-controlled sports betting model, she said there were other ways to allow online betting, including the one pursued by DraftKings and FanDuel.

“The state and the tribe can agree to a new pact, with the [interior secretary’s] approval, which allows online gambling only on Indian lands, ”Friedrich wrote in the November 22 notice. “Alternatively, the citizens of Florida can authorize such betting in their state through a citizens’ initiative. “

Bring it to the people

The Florida constitution can indeed be amended by a ballot initiative, which Florida Education Champions and its sports betting supporters want to do.

The amendment proposed by the group would allow sports betting for people 21 and older in physical properties, such as the home of the Miami Dolphins. It would also allow sports betting “statewide through online sports betting platforms by entities licensed to conduct online sports betting and by Native American tribes with a Florida gambling contract.”

Specifically, the proposed constitutional amendment would allow online sports betting both by Seminole and by “entities and organizations” that have been permitted to do so in at least 10 states for at least one year. These entities could start taking bets no later than eight months after the amendment enters into force, with others potentially being allowed to do so 20 months after its effective date.

Sports betting could use any brand they want and would not need a “market access partner,” the text of the proposed amendment says. Players would be allowed to create accounts online, without having to go to a casino or other establishment, as has been required in some states.

The initiative would require the Florida legislature to pass legislation implementing the amendment and states that state tax revenues collected should go to the Department of Education’s Educational Improvement Trust Fund. Education.

The proposed constitutional amendment needs 891,589 signatures from across the state by February to appear on the 2022 election ballot. It had an unofficial total of 122,796 valid signatures as of Thursday morning, according to the Division’s website. elections. If and when it appears on the ballot, it must be approved by at least 60 percent of the votes to be passed.

Campaign fundraising records show DraftKings donated about $ 22.7 million to Florida Education Champions at the end of October, and FanDuel an additional $ 10.1 million. These records also show that the political committee had spent $ 16.2 million at the end of October, including $ 14,000 paid to WEG in July for research.

DraftKings and FanDuel are also part of a group of online sports betting operators supporting a similar effort in California.

“In Florida, we continue to work with FanDuel and the Florida Education Champions to collect the signatures required for a mobile sports betting question to appear on the ballot in November 2022,” said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, earlier this month. “We are excited at the potential prospect for voters in Florida to decide to have a safe, legal, regulated and competitive market for online sports betting in the state, with a market-leading and technologically advanced product offering. “

The Seminole, meanwhile, had injected $ 10 million into another political committee, Standing Up for Florida, at the end of October. The committee ran ads warning of “out-of-state gambling companies” spending millions trying to turn Florida into another Las Vegas.

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