Lawsuit Challenges Florida Gaming Compact
A recently filed Florida lawsuit is set to challenge the Seminole Gambling Compact.
A federal lawsuit has been filed by the operators of the Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino in Miami against the state of Florida. The lawsuit challenges the legality of the online sports wagering permitted in its gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. The outcome of the Florida gaming compact, which was approved by the state legislature in May and signed by the Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis, will be determined by the federal Department of the Interior.
There was a 45-day timeframe set to approve or reject the deal on May 26, meaning there needs to be a final decision made by this Saturday.
The significant claims of the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday, state that any deal allowing sports betting away from tribal lands violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Sports betting activities off Indian land and not in their casinos are permitted under the compact by a “hub-and-spoke” approach. Consequently, the servers that process actual wagers are located on Indian land, although the people betting would be located anywhere within the state.
That idea has drawn heavy criticism from opponents of the expansion of gambling in Florida. A 2018 state amendment stipulates that any expansion of gambling in the Sunshine State away from Indian lands must be passed by 60% of the voters via referendum.
The owners of Magic City Casino said the idea of people placing a bet away from Indian lands “must be settled through the judicial system.” They claim that this approach “contradicts the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”
The owners concluded that the lawsuit filed will “address these issues, and we look forward to a swift legal process” which focuses on sports betting within the Seminole Compact.
More Litigation on the way
More Litigation will likely be filed on the state level to stop certain aspects of the compact. This includes the sports wagering provision away from Indian land. A total of 19 parimutuel license holders can accept bets at their land-based facilities and online under the compact; however, each is required to reach agreements with the Tribe and share revenues.
A political action committee has put forward a Florida constitutional amendment for the 2022 ballot. It has been reported that FanDuel and DraftKings have thrown their weight behind this amendment. If it gets approval, the amendment will allow any company to accept sports bets in Florida, in addition to the Tribe. Additionally, the operator must have been licensed in at least ten other states for at least a year to operate in the Sunshine State legally.
The compact also allows for the addition of blackjack and roulette at tribal casinos. Under the compact, the state is guaranteed to bring in a minimum of $500 million in revenue payments each year through 2051.
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