The push to get sports betting legalized in Florida continues to face opposition as the state faces a second lawsuit.
A federal lawsuit was filed in the District of Columbia to stop sports betting in Florida. This was done with the support of two of Miami’s biggest critics of gambling, auto retailer Norman Braman and developer Armando Codina.
The lawsuit was directed against US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. According to the lawsuit, Haaland improperly allowed the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe to enter into a gaming compact. Another allegation is that Haaland illegally authorized off-reservation sports betting, which is against federal laws.
Local officials are not exempt either. The lawsuit accuses Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature of violating federal Indian gaming law and the federal Wire Act. This was because they authorized gambling to take place outside tribal lands and permitted online transactions for sports betting which is illegal.
The lawsuit asks the federal court to block the gambling compact that allows sports betting to take place in Florida. The charges state that the compact violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because it allows the Seminole to partner up with pari-mutuels to handle their sportsbooks. This allows the compact to enrich non-tribal businesses rather than protecting the sovereign rights of Native Americans.
No Plans To Stop
Despite the lawsuit, the state is looking forward to implementing the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe, which is set to begin on October 15. Under the deal, anyone over 21 in Florida will be able to carry out online sports betting. In exchange for this sports betting compact, the tribe has agreed to pay at least $2.5 billion in revenue sharing over the first five years of the 30-year agreement.
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Six reservations of the Seminole tribe are allowed under the new compact to take sports bets, The compact also permits Florida’s existing racetracks and jai-alai frontons to carry out their own sports betting operations, as long as they have tribal partners. Additionally, the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock casinos in Broward and Hillsborough counties can now offer expanded games which include craps and roulette.
The lawsuit points out that based on Florida’s state constitution, this form of expanded gambling requires a state wide vote for it to be made legal but the compact skips that requirement by having the Seminole tribe handle everything.