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Biden Administration Urges Appeals Court to Reinstate Florida Sports Betting

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
10 min read
  • US Department of the Interior Brief Urges an Appeals Court to Reinstate Compact
  • Last year, a D.C. Judge Ruled Florida Tribal Compact Violated Federal Law
  • Seminole Tribe Backs 2021 Compact, Sports Betting Measure Must Wait Until 2024
Biden Administration Reinstate Florida Sports Betting

US Department of the Interior Brief Urges an Appeals Court to Reinstate Compact

It feels like forever ago when Florida had it’s legal sports betting market in place, but that’s because it only lasted a month, and it was at the end of 2021 right after Governor DeSantis signed a 30-year deal with the Seminoles but before it was challenged by gambling rooms.

Now the Biden Administration is calling for an appeals court to reinstate that compact so that the Seminole Tribe of Florida can once again begin offering sports betting to residents of the third most populous US state, a market that could be worth billions of ongoing dollars.

The White House message came via a brief filed with the US Department of the Interior Wednesday, an attempt to jump-start an issue that was seemingly left to die as over thirty other states are now participating in that same legal sports betting market and generating billions.

The secretary has no duty — nor even any authority — to disapprove a compact that validly authorizes gaming on Indian lands simply because the compact also contemplates that the state will enact legislation permitting persons outside Indian lands to participate in that gaming.

This all stems from a story that broke at the end of 2021.

Last year, a D.C. Judge Ruled Florida Tribal Compact Violated Federal Law

As we reported last September in Florida Gambling Critics File Federal Lawsuit to Halt Sports Betting Launch, a suit was filed by two outspoken detractors of Florida gambling – multi-millionaire developer Armando Codina and billionaire auto retailer Norman Braman.

The lawsuit was against US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and claimed that when the federal government approved the tribal gaming compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, it violated federal Indian gaming law and the federal Wire Act.

According to the IGRA, wagers in Florida are only allowed to take place on the Seminole reservation, but those detractors of the compact claim this opens up a loophole based on where the computer servers are located.

Subsequently, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the deal between DeSantis and the Seminoles violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and this was enough to shut the entire market down.

Now there is a push to get that market legally restarted.

Seminole Tribe Backs 2021 Compact, Sports Betting Measure Must Wait Until 2024

The 30-year compact that was signed by both the state of Florida and the leaders of the Seminole Tribe puts legal gambling in the hands of the native tribe including sports betting, craps, and roulette at casinos in addition to being allowed to expand in Broward County.

In return, the tribe would pay Florida a minimum of $2.5 billion over the first five years of operation and for the duration of the compact even more billions would be paid, so the reason all this is being revisited becomes as clear as all those zeroes.

Next year’s ballot will be the soonest Florida can present another sports betting measure so gamblers there will have to remain patient and in the meantime, they will no doubt spend their gambling kitties elsewhere, either by using unregulated offshore sportsbooks or illegal bookies.

This story is still unfolding so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.

Follow other states for updates on betting legislation

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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