Seminole Tribe Appeals recent Florida Court Ruling
Florida Tribe Asks Appeals Court to Intervene on Mobile Sports Betting Ruling
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is looking for a stay of a federal judge’s ruling that states the tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile sports betting app is illegal. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled the Seminole Hard Rock Sportsbook app violates federal law by permitting players to use their mobile devices to wager from anywhere in the state instead of just on tribal land.
The judge said that a federal rule in the state requires bettors to be physically on tribal property when betting.
The Seminole Hard Rock Sportsbook, which is the only legal sports betting app in the Sunshine State, was launched without much attention on November 1. Non-tribal pari-mutuels and others had filed lawsuits to block the tribe from gaining exclusive rights to mobile sports wagering in Florida.
Request for Stay Rejected
Last week, the judge rejected the tribe’s request for a stay, which would mean that the app could continue to accept bets, at least temporarily.
The tribe claimed it would lose money used for tribal programs if the sports wagering app was shut down in Florida. In rejecting the request, the judge said the tribe had not provided sufficient evidence that a shutdown would result in financial hardship.
On Thanksgiving, the tribe’s attorneys filed an emergency motion at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The appeals court has given attorneys for non-tribal pari-mutuels until noon on Tuesday for their response to the emergency motion. The U.S. Department of the Interior has also been given the same timeframe for an answer.
Sports Betting Options Remain Available in Florida
In a 25-page memorandum opinion last week, judge Friedrich wrote that her decision does not stop other avenues for possible legal online sports betting options in Florida.
The judge wrote that the state and tribe might agree to a new compact permitting online sports betting, but only on tribal lands. Additionally, the judge noted that Florida residents can still create a “citizens’ initiative” to legalize mobile sports betting throughout the state.
A political action committee has quickly sought a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting across Florida. The PAC has received $10 million each from well-known betting operators DraftKings and FanDuel. The measure will appear on the November 2022 ballot if enough signatures are collected.
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