Portnoy, DraftKings Team Up In Support Of FL Sports Betting

  • The Florida sports betting ballot initiative - backed by DraftKings, FanDuel, and Florida Education Champions - is thousands of signatures short of appearing on the 2022 ballot.
  • For the final push, DraftKings is offering a huge free-bet incentive, while Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy is taking to social media to garner support for the sports betting initiative.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Time is running out for Florida Education Champions’ online sports betting voter initiative, and supporters of the initiative are tapping into every resource possible to get the necessary amount of signatures for the measure to appear on the 2022 midterm ballot.

Time Running Out For Sports Betting Initiative

The initiative - backed by sports betting giants FanDuel and DraftKings as well as the Las Vegas Sands-backed Florida Education Champions PAC - needs a total of 892,000 verified signatures by February 1 to appear on the upcoming ballot.

As of January 17, the Florida Division of Elections had received a total of 518,968 signatures, meaning the Florida online sports gambling initiative is 373,032 votes short of the necessary threshold with less than a month remaining to gather signatures. While the initiative is still quite a ways from receiving all of the necessary signatures, it has made remarkable progress in the last week - on Thursday, the Florida Division of Elections had received 323,000 signatures - by Monday, the initiative had received almost 200,000 additional signatures.

In order to get the initiative onto the ballot, it will need to garner approximately 27,000 additional signatures per day until the end of January. These signatures will need to be verified, which is a somewhat lengthy process that can take up to a month, casting further doubt on the odds of the initiative reaching the ballot.

Dave Portnoy, DraftKings Team Up For Final Push

While it seems like a longshot to get the initiative on the 2022 ballot, supporters are ramping up their efforts as the deadline approaches. One of these efforts is being made by DraftKings, who said in a Twitter post earlier this week that they will offer $100 free bets to every Floridian if the initiative receives the necessary signatures, up to $1 million.

On top of DraftKings’ incentive, another high-profile figure in the legal sports betting world is attempting to leverage his massive social media reach into signatures - Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. On Thursday, Portnoy hosted an “emergency press conference” livestream recording for his 2.7 million Twitter followers and 4 million Instagram followers, titled “I’m Here to Save Sports Gambling in Florida.”

“Our competitors - who trash me behind closed doors - now, they’re asking for my help… They know I’m the king of Florida,” said Portnoy.

After getting the cursory DraftKings jab in, Portnoy went on to extol the virtues of the initiative.

“Barstool Sportsbook, FanDuel, DraftKings, we can all be here, but we need to get it on the ballot,” he said. “Let the voters decide in November, or do you just want the Seminoles? Because you’re not going to be able to shop lines, you’re not getting promos… It’s bad for people. We need one million signatures by the end of January. We’ve already been working. They’ve turned to me to finish the deal, the closer."

Portnoy also told registered voters of Florida to text the word “win” to 888-922-2240 in order to have the online sports betting initiative sent to their address to sign. He also included a QR code that viewers could scan to access an online form.

While the initiative needs an immense wave of support in order to appear on the 2022 ballot, Portnoy and DraftKings joining forces behind the push could drive the issue further into the public consciousness, which would undoubtedly be a good thing for the initiative’s chances.

If the initiative fails to appear on the 2022 ballot, Floridians will likely be without any regulated sportsbooks for a considerable amount of time, barring a re-negotiated gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe that does not violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.