- The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s new Tribal Gaming Compact is being hit with a lawsuit before it’s even been approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- The main focus of the lawsuit is the mobile sports betting aspect of the industry but overall, the plaintiffs would like to see the compact not be implemented at all.
- Other lawsuits are on the way that are asking for the subject of sportsbooks to be put on the November 2022 ballot for a vote, which the Florida Constitution calls for when expanding the gaming market.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Friday, a lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Courthouse in Tallahassee to dispute the new Tribal Gaming Compacts of the Seminole Tribe of Florida that would allow for mobile sports betting.
Two businesses, the Magic City Casino and the Bonita Springs Poker Room, both owned by Southwest Florida Enterprises Inc. have come together to fight this new compact agreement.
Governor Ron DeSantis and Julie Brown, the Secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation were named in the suit. Brown would oversee the implementation of the regulated sports betting industry for the Sunshine State.
Currently, the legislation is sitting in the U.S. Department of the Interior awaiting the approval of Secretary Deb Haaland before it can become official law in Florida.
What Is The Suit Seeking To Amend?
At the present time, Florida sports betting would give the Seminole Tribe the ability to offer more table games at their establishments, as well as add three new gaming locations in the state. Not only that but they would be given the ability to offer mobile sports betting which is what the lawsuit is seeking to amend and get rid of as they believe it violates federal law. All sports gaming should be done on tribal land and not be accessible outside of that.
Mobile sportsbooks could be seen statewide for use unless this matter is squashed by the courts. The documents filed ask that Governor DeSantis no longer be able to work with the Seminole Tribe when it comes to negotiating their gaming compacts, calling for an injunction on any further involvement by DeSantis. And although the mobile gaming aspect stands at the forefront, the plaintiffs are also asking that the law not be implemented at all.
This subject could go either way as the Seminole Tribe of Florida has offered to put sports betting kiosks inside the two establishments that have filed the lawsuit. Not only that but there is also a $2.5 billion guarantee to the Sunshine State in revenue through the course of the next five years that could do a world of good for the economy.
Although there are pros to this suit, insiders believe it is unlikely to change the decision of the U.S. Department of the Interior when all is said and done.
More Lawsuits To Come
A number of organizations, anti-gaming and DraftKings alike, are planning to go after Florida with legal recourse of their own. Surprisingly, for organizations on two very opposite ends of the spectrum, each would like to put the subject of sports betting on the November 2022 ballot and have residents vote on the matter.
The Florida Constitution states that any gaming expansions be done in this manner, at least where commercial businesses are concerned, which is why DraftKings is backing the idea.
As far as this pending lawsuit is concerned, the mobile part of it may no longer be an issue as there is legislation that was just filed on Thursday known as HR 4308, that centers around tribal gaming and the online and mobile angle of it. This bill would change the way that the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is written in regards to the digital version of the industry.
What’s held up as current in 1988 is no longer relevant in 2021. The Seminole Tribe of Florida expected pushback for their new Tribal Gaming Compact and that pushback has already begun before the ink has even hit the paper to make the law official in the Sunshine State. Should the timeline stay on track, despite these delays, Florida could have sportsbooks launch by the 2021 NFL season.
News tags: 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act | Bonita Springs Poker Room | Deb Haaland | DraftKings | Florida | Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation | HR 4308 | Julie Brown | Magic City Casino | NFL | Ron DeSantis | Seminole Tribe of Florida | Southwest Florida Enterprises | U.S. Department of the Interior
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.