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Late last week, two Florida pari-mutuel operators – the Magic City Casino and the Bonita Springs Poker Room – involved in a lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe filed a motion seeking “expedited consideration” of pending motions in that case.
The motion, filed last Friday in the US District Court in Florida’s Northern District, asks for a schedule that would allow for a decision to be made before the sports betting portions of the compact are put into effect on Nov. 15.
The suit in question claims the new gaming compact between the Seminoles and the state violates state and federal laws, a story we broke down earlier in Seminole Tribe of Florida Files to Dismiss Federal Sports Betting Lawsuit which also includes a timeline of events.
The pending lawsuit, in short, accuses the Seminole Tribe of Florida of seeking an illegal statewide sports betting monopoly.
The argument the pari-mutuel plaintiffs are making is that the Seminole/State gaming compact excludes any outside operators from engaging in Florida’s legal sports betting market, which essentially provides the Tribe with a statewide monopoly to offer sports betting to residents.
Also, the suit accuses the gaming compact of being unlawful since it gives the Seminoles the right to offer sports betting off its sovereign land which goes against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that regulates such operations in Florida despite the Tribe’s use of a loophole involving the computer servers existing on tribal land.
In this regard, the motion filed last Friday states:
This [compact] is based on a legal fiction that the bets are deemed ‘placed’ at computer servers located on the Tribe’s reservation even though the bettors can be located anywhere in the state.
Despite all the litigious red tape, legal sports betting in Florida is still set to launch on time.
There are two separate potential launch dates for retail and online legal sports betting in Florida, both having been set in the gaming compact that is at the heart of the ongoing lawsuit.
The first launch date could happen in mid-October by the 15th when it is expected that retail sports betting at Seminole casinos could start, and the second potential launch date is November 15 when online sports betting would be allowed to take place.
In the meantime, the same two Florida pari-mutuel operators filed a similar complaint in the DC federal district court against the Interior Department and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Aug. 16 and last week federal Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered the plaintiffs to file either a motion for summary judgment or for a preliminary injunction – or both – by this week.
The Seminoles have since filed a motion to intervene, announcing its intention to seek a dismissal of the DC-based case, claiming that they stand to lose “significant increased profits” if “the department’s deemed approval of the 2021 compact were vacated and set aside, as plaintiffs request.”
This story is gradually unfolding, so keep checking back for more updates on Florida’s somewhat rocky road towards legal sports betting.
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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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