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Florida Gambling Critics File Federal Lawsuit to Halt Sports Betting Launch

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
3 min read
Florida Gambling Critics File Federal Lawsuit
  • Federal Lawsuit Filed Monday to Halt Legal Sports Betting in Florida
  • Litigants Are Gambling Critics, Claim Florida Properties “will be adversely affected”
  • This is the Second Such Lawsuit in Florida, Both Now Pending

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On Monday, two wealthy critics of legalized gambling in the state of Florida filed a federal lawsuit aimed at halting the upcoming October 15 launch of legal sports betting in Florida.

The suit, filed by two outspoken detractors of Florida gambling – multi-millionaire developer Armando Codina and billionaire auto retailer Norman Braman – is against US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

It claims 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.

The claim, among several in the suit, alleges that those laws were essentially broken “by authorizing gambling outside of Indian lands and by allowing the use of the Internet or interstate payment transmissions where sports betting is illegal,” a familiar angle we cover in greater detail in a recent WSN story.

But the truth of the matter goes beyond that tricky loophole and essentially comes down to money.

Litigants Are Gambling Critics, Claim Florida Properties “will be adversely affected”

When it comes to bringing legal online and retail sports betting to the state of Florida, what litigants Codina and Braman are more likely concerned about is how that new business operation will affect their financial interests.

For example, Braman’s many properties in the Edgewater neighborhood of the City of Miami are near the Magic City Casino, so the arrival of sports betting and expanded casino games will, according to claims in the lawsuit, most likely adversely affect those assets.

How, exactly? According to the complaint:

By, among other things, increasing neighborhood traffic, increasing neighborhood congestion, increasing criminal activity, reducing open spaces, and reducing property values.

Arguably legitimate worries in terms of business, but whether it’s enough to legally halt the upcoming October 15 launch of legal sports betting in the Sunshine State will be a decision made by a judge in the District of Columbia where Monday’s lawsuit was filed.

However, Codina and Braman will have to wait in line, since a similar federal lawsuit is already being processed.

This is the Second Such Lawsuit in Florida, Both Now Pending

Also in federal court right now is another lawsuit asking federal courts to block the impending implementation of online sports betting in Florida, this one filed by West Flagler Associates, the owners of Magic City Casino in Miami and Bonita Springs Poker Room.

West Flagler has also just filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court in the Northern District of Florida on Monday, their overall angle also being that online sports betting in the state violates these previously established laws:

  • The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
  • The Wire Act
  • The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

It’s essentially the same reasoning that Codina and Braman are now using, as their lawyer, Eugene Stearns, recently admitted to the media.

We are making the same arguments, but we have a different agenda.

That financially motivated agenda, however, might not be enough to keep the lucrative sports betting train from leaving the Florida station next month.

Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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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.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
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