Florida Sports Betting History

  • Monterra AF – a group formed to oppose what they called an illegal gambling expansion in Florida – filed a suit in the U.S. District Court of Appeals on Sunday.
  • The case argues – among other points – that since Judge Dabney Friedrich’s ruling in essence was a judgement in their favor, they have the right to defend the judgment from appeals.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida sports betting saga is entering another chapter after plaintiff Monterra AF filed a suit in the U.S. District Court of Appeals on Sunday.

Monterra AF Files Suit In U.S. District Court Of Appeals

Monterra AF is a collective composed of business proprietors, property owners and managers, as well as a non-profit organization. The group claims that they formed in opposition to what they called an illegal gambling expansion.

The filing by Monterra AF comes approximately six months after Judge Dabney Friedrich nullified the updated Florida-Seminole tribal gaming compact for violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Monterra AF’s argument is going to have to carry some weight for the case to be heard by the District Court of Appeals: the court asked Monterra AF to explain why they believe their suit has cause earlier in 2022, suggesting the court may dismiss the case if they are not convinced by the argument.

Monterra AF Case Linked To West Flagler Associates Case

The case has been linked by some to another, somewhat similar case, filed by West Flagler Associates and the Bonita Springs Card Room. Despite similarities, Monterra AF says that the interests of the case are quite different.

The West Flagler and Bonita Springs Card Room case sued as a result of Florida essentially limiting their business potential by creating a government-enforced gaming monopoly for the Seminole Tribe.

On the other hand, the Monterra AF case argues that any proper gaming expansion must be left up to the voters of Florida, which did not happen in the case of the updated Florida-Seminole gaming compact.

Though there are certainly differences between the two cases, they both seek the same remedy: a court intervention nullifying the updated Florida-Seminole gaming compact and forcing the Seminole Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app to cease operation – which is exactly what happened in the latter portion of 2021.

Despite the similarity in sought remedies, the two cases were never formally consolidated into one case – regardless, Judge Friedrich ruled on both cases simultaneously. While Judge Friedrich ruled on both cases at the same time, she did explicitly mention the Monterra AF case in her judgment.

In it, Judge Friedrich said that Monterra AF’s request for judgment was “moot”, since “vacating the compact fully redresses” Monterra AF’s complaint before denying both the Seminole Tribe’s motion to intervene as well as the Department of the Interior’s request that both cases be dismissed outright.

Monterra AF now argues that because there was a conclusive resolution to the case it is eligible for appeal. They also argue that the Department of the Interior’s request’s denial is eligible for review; that the court has jurisdiction over the case; and that Judge Friedrich’s nullification of the updated Florida-Seminole gaming compact was, in essence, a ruling in their favor. As a result of the latter claim, Monterra AF argues that they have the right to legally defend the decision as appeals are heard.

Newest Lawsuit The Latest Roadblock In Florida’s Sports Betting Journey

The complicated legal matter is another roadblock standing in the way of legal sportsbooks in Florida. After a soft launch of online sports betting in November, Judge Friedrich’s ruling reverted Florida’s sports betting industry to its previous status before the updated gaming compact, when it was still unregulated. This means legal sports betting has essentially gone from fully functional back to square one in about six months.

Monterra AF’s case should see a decision within the next 12 months; this means that – at the earliest – sports betting will not arrive in Florida until 2023. With the complications Florida sports betting has seen in the last six months, it may well be even longer than that.

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