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On Monday, US District Court Judge Allen Winsor dismissed the first of three lawsuits that have been filed to put a halt to the ongoing efforts of the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida to launch legal sports betting for residents.
It’s an unfolding story that we have covered extensively, an effort by several concerned parties claiming that the updated compact between the state and the tribe gives them a “monopoly over sports betting” as well as violates federal laws by illegally allowing off-reservation sports wagering.
Not so, says Judge Windsor, dismissing the claims by the plaintiffs – West Flagler Associates Ltd., owners of Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Miami – saying in a 20-page ruling that they did not have the standing to sue the state.
The dismissed lawsuit had been filed against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, an anticipated victory as his side “scores a win against two Florida casinos that aren’t happy,” according to lawyer Darren Heitner via Twitter.
Florida @GovRonDeSantis scores a win against 2 Florida casinos that aren’t happy about the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting Compact.
Ruling: The casinos lack standing to sue.
There’s another pending case against the Dept of Interior to block sports betting in FL. Stay tuned.. pic.twitter.com/gOCu9LwcXD
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) October 19, 2021
The reason Judge Windsor dismissed this lawsuit against Governor DeSantis is that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that his actions were damaging to Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room, the parimutuels that would supposedly be affected by legal sports betting.
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege “that they will lose revenue because their potential casino patrons will take their gambling dollars” to the Seminole Tribe’s sportsbook.
That’s not true, according to Judge Winsor’s ruling, where he states that the “alleged harm is not traceable to nor redressable by the State,” also stating that the Governor and the other defendant, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) secretary Julie Brown, “do not have the authority to enforce the conditions of the compact.”
That’s good news according to Seminole Tribe spokesperson Gary Bitner.
[The dismissal represents] an important first legal victory for the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe and we look forward to future legal decisions in our favor.
Now there are just two pending lawsuits to go.
Now two pending lawsuits also meant to block legal sports betting in Florida remain on the docket, one filed by the same plaintiffs but on a federal level and the other filed by two outspoken critics of Sunshine State gambling.
In the first case, West Flagler Associates have filed in Washington, D.C. a federal lawsuit with claims similar to the one just dismissed that names the US Department of the Interior (DOI) and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as defendants.
The second case was filed by two wealthy critics of legalized gambling in Florida who claim their properties “will be adversely affected” by a legal and regulated sports betting market in the state.
The District Court for the District of Columbia has scheduled a hearing for November 5 to hear oral arguments in both cases, so check back here for all the latest news and updates.
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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]More info on Mike Lukas
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