Earlier this year, a joint DraftKings FanDuel Florida campaign had the rivals join forces to propose an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would allow sports betting throughout the state.
The move would expand sports betting beyond the control of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has exclusive rights over sports betting and is slated to launch Hard Rock Sportsbook Florida in less than two weeks barring any legal setbacks.
Though the launch is imminent, Division of Elections records reveals that DraftKings and FanDuel may be slowing down their push to get their initiative on the November 2022 ballot.
DraftKings FanDuel Florida Campaign: How We Got Here
When DraftKings and FanDuel’s proposed amendment, known as an “initiative,” went public in June, it smacked the Florida sports betting narrative like a bolt of lightning. At the time, the fate of the Seminole compact was unknown.
Though approved by the state, the compact needed approval from the Department of the Interior (DOI), and that approval wasn’t automatic. Skeptics believed a DOI green-light could be hampered by the fact the compact called for FL mobile sports betting in a state where sports betting was illegal.
Enter DraftKings and FanDuel’s initiative. It had the chance to be the primary sports-betting hope if the Seminole compact failed to make it through the DOI, and a secondary option if the Seminole compact gained DOI approval (which it did in August).
Simply put, even though the Seminole compact is in play, voters could still approve the DraftKings and FanDuel amendment during the state’s November 2022 elections.
DraftKings FanDuel Florida Campaign: How It’s Going
The initiative launched with $20 million in funding from DraftKings and FanDuel. That money went toward the PAC that’s listed as the initiative’s sponsor: Florida Education Champions (FEC).
Since the initiative launched in June, FEC has spent $5.5 million of the $20 million it started with, according to Florida DOE records. Here’s a quick breakdown of the initiative’s biggest expenditures over the past four months:
- Total payments of $3.2 million to Advanced Micro Targeting, a ballot consulting firm that specializes in ballot qualification, voter contact, and micro-targeted direct mail.
- Payments of more than $1.1 million to Election Management Solutions, a group run by Tallahassee-based consultant Randy Enwright.
- $560,000 paid to Election Connections, another firm run by Enwright.
- More than $250,000 paid to Supernova Digital Communications, another Enwright company that offers digital advertising, email marketing, web design, and social media management services.
There are numerous other smaller payments to law firms, the United States Postal Service, and consulting groups.
The goal of these payments, in theory, is to capture the 222,898 signatures needed to get a judicial and financial impact review from the state, then an additional more than 600,000 signatures to earn a spot on the 2022 ballot. The initiative had 26,586 signatures at the time of publishing.
Republican guru linked to $2 million in payments
Amid all the spending, one name stands out: Byron Randall “Randy” Enwright.
Enwright runs a consulting firm in Tallahassee and, according to his company bio, he is a seasoned political strategist and consultant. He managed George Bush Sr.’s Missouri campaign, was the political director of the Missouri Republican Party, and served as the executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa and Republican Party of Florida.
What’s odd about Enwright’s presence in the initiative is that Republicans typically oppose sports betting or support heavy regulation of the industry.
This may be a case of DraftKings and FanDuel hiring an expert who can negotiate conservative backlash against the initiative, and/or a consultancy that helps both sides of the aisle, providing the paycheck is suitable. In this case, companies linked to Enwright have been paid nearly $2 million in payments, according to Florida DOE records.
Spending has slowed … trouble ahead?
FEC’s campaign expenditures were blazing in July and August for this joint DraftKings FanDuel Florida campaign, but DOE campaign finance records show no spending in September. The records are at the mercy of the campaign, though, so the lack of spending in September could mean two things:
The campaign has come to a screeching halt now that the compact passed through DOI and is set to launch this month, or
the campaign has yet to report its expenditures from September.
Either way, the campaign no doubt faces a tough challenge ahead if sports betting launches this month. Once Floridians have the chance to bet via their mobile device, they may not have the motivation to approve an amendment that would disallow the sports betting they already have.