Florida Gambling Expansion Initiatives’ Sponsors Aim at Submitting the Gathered Signatures by the End of 2021

As of December 17th, Florida Education Champions, which is the sponsor of a sports betting initiative in the state, has submitted a total of 194,287 valid signatures.

The measure would make sports betting legal online, as well as at pari-mutuel facilities and sports venues in Florida. Apart from the motion, the state’s Legislature would also have to pass a piece of legislation in order to adopt the constitutional amendment regarding the implementation of legal sports betting services, including rules for licensing, regulation, taxation, and customer protection.

Under the provisions of such an amendment, the entire tax revenue generated by online gambling would have to be redirected to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. When it comes to sports betting available online, this form of gambling could be conducted either by Indian Tribes in the state or by companies that have been in the market for at least one year and have so far offered sports betting services in no less than 10 other US states. Such operators would be allowed to start offering sports betting in Florida in 8 months after the constitutional amendment is brought into effect.

Other companies would be given the chance to offer sports betting services 20 months after the aforementioned constitutional amendment is brought into effect if state law allows that.

Florida Voters in Charge the Only Group That Met Signature Requirement So Far

As of December 17th, the main sponsor of a proposed motion for expansion of casino gambling services, Florida Voters in Charge, had submitted a total of 282,529 valid signatures.

The initiative would allow the expansion of casino gambling in Florida by providing businesses that already have cardroom licenses with such an opportunity, as long as their operations are situated 130 miles away from any of the 7 tribal casinos that are currently run by the Seminole Tribe and spend capital investments worth $250 million within a 3-year period after submitting a notice of the official start of casino gambling services.

In order to become eligible for the 2022 ballot in Florida, campaigners are required to gather an overall of 891,589 valid signatures that need to be verified by February 1st, 2022. County election supervisors are given no longer than 30 days for the signature verification, after which they would have to submit them to the Secretary of State. There is also a signature distribution requirement, under which campaigners have to collect signatures that equal no less than 8% of the district-wide vote during the last presidential election in 14 of the 27 congressional districts in Florida.

Reportedly, the campaigners have announced December 30th, 2021 as their deadline to submit the gathered signatures to the authorities.

Florida’s Attorney General, as well as the state Supreme Court, will have to review the proposed measures after the campaigners collect one-quarter of the required signatures in Florida in each of the 14 congressional districts, which means they will need 222,898 signatures for the ballot measures next year. Once the campaigners collect the so-called “preliminary” signatures, the proposed measure would have to be submitted by the Secretary of State to the Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) and the Florida Attorney General. In their turn, the Attorney General will have to turn to the state’s Supreme Court for consultation on whether the proposed measure complies with the gambling legislation of Florida.

So far, reports have shown that the signature requirement to become eligible for the aforementioned review was met only by Florida Voters in Charge.