End-of-Year Update: Where Does Florida Sports Betting Stand Entering 2022?

Florida

Florida has been one of the most interesting states to track in the sports betting legislative process, and we’ve covered the recent news in the state over the past couple of months on this site. The latest information coming out of Florida is that initiative 21-13, also known as the Florida Education Champions campaign, seems to be picking up steam with almost 240,000 petition signatures reported by the Florida Division of Elections on Wednesday. The campaign needs to reach 891,589 by February 1 for the initiative to appear on the 2022 ballot in Florida, and campaign spokeswoman Christina Johnson told reporters “we are confident we will have enough signatures” to meet that deadline.

Florida Education Champions Initiative

The Florida Education Champions campaign would make Florida an open sports betting market with several licenses made available to national sportsbooks including DraftKings and FanDuel, the two biggest players in the industry who have combined to fund the initiative with over $37 million. Sports betting would be available to anyone in Florida, both online and in-person, who is over 21 years old. If initiative 21-13 is passed, the Florida Legislature would be required to adopt legislation to implement licensure and regulation policies. All tax receipts from sports betting activity would go to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund of the Department of Education. You can learn more about this initiative on the website devoted to the campaign.

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What About the Seminole Tribe?

For a while, it looked like the Seminole Tribe would hold a monopoly of sorts over sports betting in Florida following the gaming compact it agreed upon with Governor Ron DeSantis. The Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook would be the only platform available in the state. However, anti-gaming initiatives and local pari-mutuel corporations claimed the compact violated state and federal antitrust laws and restrictions on gambling not on the tribal property. On November 22, Federal Judge Dabney L. Friedrich of the United States District Court struck down the gaming compact. The Seminole Tribe is currently appealing the federal judge’s ruling, but in the meantime, they indefinitely shut down their Hard Rock Sportsbook platform on December 4.

What to Look for in 2022

Next year will be a big one for the future of sports betting in what would be the largest state to launch a legal market to date. If the Florida Education Champions initiative is approved, the November ballot would contain a vote on sports betting. If voters approved the practice, the market would launch sometime in 2023. We expect the appeals courts to make a ruling on the Seminole Tribe gaming compact early next year, and the competing interests will make for an exciting arms race between Hard Rock Sportsbook and the DraftKings/FanDuel partnership in hopes of launching their product in the state. With a population of about 21.5 million people, Florida will become one of the most lucrative sports betting markets in the country when the state finally launches its legal market.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to cover industry news, NFL and NBA odds, and more.

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