Seminole Tribe Sports Betting Judgment – Gambling Compact Appeal to Be Heard in Florida

| December 2, 2021 12:31 pm PST
  • Florida’s Seminole Tribe seeking control over online sports betting.
  • The tribe is looking to appeal District Court’s judgment.
  • The Seminoles claim that the initial ruling goes against the tribe’s interests.

Online sports betting in Florida is under threat.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is looking to convince the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to permit its sports betting compact to stand but has so far failed in its efforts.

On November 22, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled an existing gambling deal between Florida and the Seminoles was in violation of federal law. Friedrich then rejected to stay her ruling, with the tribe launching an appeal.

We will learn this week if the tribe’s plea has been successful.

What’s Happening in the Seminole Case in Florida?

The Seminole Tribe cut a deal to control online sports betting in Florida.

The agreement was signed off by Gov. Ron DeSantis and tribal Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. before being approved by the Legislature in May.

Subsequently, the U.S. Department of the Interior, responsible for tribal gambling, permitted the plan to go ahead in August.

Judge Dabney’s ruling that the order is in violation of federal law essentially means that online sports gambling within state lines would no longer be permitted.

The ruling, which focused on the gambling compact, allowed for sports betting in Florida to be legal to players in the state for the first time.

Details of the deal revealed that bettors in any part of “The Sunshine State” could bet on sports, with wagers administered through computer servers based on tribal land.

If the appeal fails, the existing agreement brokered with the tribe will be null and void under federal law.

Seminoles Unwilling to Comply

As things stand, the Seminole Tribe is not complying with the ruling.

In defense, owners of both the Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida have challenged the ruling.

In effect, the tribe is arguing that federal law does not authorize bets that occur off tribal lands.

Friedrich had found the compact had gone against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and threw out the existing deal as well as the request of the tribe to have the ruling dismissed based on the tribe’s sovereign immunity.

At the time of writing, the tribe still permits gamblers to place bets via a mobile sports-betting app that was released in November.

When Will the Appeal be Heard?

On November 25, the Seminoles launched an emergency motion seeking for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to stay Friedrich’s decision.

A three-judge panel of the court is set to rule on the motion by December 3.

According to the tribe’s legal team, there is no reason why they should have been dismissed from intervening in the lawsuit.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Seminoles claim that, without a stay, the ruling would be catastrophic for the tribe and Floridians as a whole.

“Without a stay, the tribe will suffer injury to its sovereignty, and hundreds of tribal and vendor jobs related to sports betting, craps, and roulette will be lost, hurting hundreds of Floridians and their families.”

If the stay is rejected, this would be a major blow for online sports betting in Florida.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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