Published: January 14, 2022

Ballot measure to allow online sports betting in Florida faces support shortfall

ORLANDO, Fla. — While Florida enjoyed a few weeks of online sports betting, that is now gone and the odds of it returning anytime soon are getting worse by the day.

More than 15 states already have legal online sports betting.

Florida painted itself into a corner and there aren’t many good ways out.

Because of the Florida constitution the only real way to authorize online sports betting is through a ballot initiative.

There is one circulating right now, but it needs hundreds of thousands more signatures before the end of the month, and while there is still time, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get there anytime soon.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a historic deal with the Seminole tribe to expand gambling across Florida, including online sports betting, in April of last year.

Well, not only did that deal go down in legal flames, but it was also such a disaster that the governor didn’t even mention it in his state of the state speech this week.

“They are going to have to abandon the part of the compact on sports betting,” said UCF political science professor Aubrey Jewett.

Jewett notes when the deal died, so too did the Seminole tribe’s Hard Rock online sports betting app and all online sports betting in the state.

A petition backed by Fan Duel and Draft Kings would allow voters to rewrite the Florida constitution to allow online sports betting, but it’s facing a major problem.

The petition needs 891,000 signatures before the end of the month, and right now it only has about 338,000.

While there are still a few weeks left, the math is daunting.

The group would need to turn in at least 32,551 valid signatures a day until the end of January, a number they’ve not come close to hitting throughout the campaign.

Even if you’re not a gambler the change would still impact you, because gambling money is extra money for the state, usually dedicated to education.

In a written statement, the group behind the ballot measure said it is still collecting petitions and working to raise awareness before the Feb. 1 deadline.

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