Florida Sports Betting Heads to State Supreme Court

September 28, 2023 | Government

FLORIDA (September 27, 2023) — The lawsuit centres around a legal dispute involving the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Florida government regarding a multibillion-dollar deal related to sports betting in the state of Florida.

In 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola, Jr., signed a compact (a type of agreement) related to sports betting. This compact allowed the Seminole Tribe to have control over sports betting throughout the state.

The pari-mutuel companies, West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., are challenging the deal in court. They argue that the compact violates a 2018 constitutional amendment (known as Amendment 3) that requires voter approval for expansions of casino-style gambling.

The compact included a “hub-and-spoke” plan that allowed the Seminoles to accept sports wagers from mobile devices anywhere in the state, with bets processed through servers on tribal land. The compact specified that such bets would be deemed to be exclusively conducted by the tribe.

The lawsuit filed by the pari-mutuel companies accuses Governor DeSantis and the state legislature of exceeding their authority by permitting sports betting off tribal lands without voter approval. They argue that the compact and accompanying law were designed to bypass the constitutional requirement for a statewide vote.

The dispute also involves federal court rulings. Initially, a U.S. District Judge ruled against the compact, but a panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned that ruling. The pari-mutuel companies are seeking a U.S. Supreme Court review of the case, arguing that it could set a precedent for expanded gaming outside of Indian lands.

The legal battles have created uncertainty regarding the rollout of online sports betting in Florida. While it’s suggested that the Seminole Tribe might eventually have the ability to offer online sports betting, the timing remains uncertain due to the ongoing legal proceedings.

The lawsuit filed by the pari-mutuel companies emphasizes the need for the Florida Supreme Court to review the case urgently, as it concerns the legality of off-reservation sports betting under state law and the requirement for voter approval as mandated by the Florida Constitution.

In summary, this legal dispute revolves around whether the compact allowing the Seminole Tribe to control sports betting in Florida violates the state’s constitution and whether sports betting can occur off tribal lands without voter approval. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the future of sports betting in the state of Florida.

SOURCE: LI Contributor.

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