TAMPA, Fla. — On Monday, a federal judge threw out the game compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe, ruling that this agreement violates Indian Gaming Regulation Act (IGRA) because it allows people to wager even if they’re not on Indian Lands.
Judge Dabney Friedrich stated that the compact allows people to place bets online from anywhere within the state, but not on Indian Lands.
Friedrich stated in her opinion that the solution to the decision was to restore the Tribe’s prior compact, which went into effect in 2010.
“In that respect, this decision restores the legal status of class III gaming in Florida to where it was on August 4, 2021 — one day before the Secretary approved the new compact by inaction. Friedrich stated that the federal law prohibits online sportsbetting because of the repealed Compact. “This decision doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options for allowing online sports betting to be legalized in Florida. With the approval of the Secretary, the State and Tribe could agree to a new compact that allows online gambling only on Indian lands.
“The Seminole Tribe is reviewing the Judge’s opinion and carefully considering its next steps,” a spokesperson for the tribe said in a statement Tuesday.
Daniel Wallach, an attorney who is also a gambling and sports expert, stated that he wasn’t surprised by the recent ruling.
“Her ruling was devastating for the compact. Wallach stated that the compact was struck down by the governor and legislature for authorizing internet betting through a tribal compact.
Wallach indicated that the Federal Judge’s decision isn’t an end-all for online betting in Florida.
Wallach stated that “The federal government could file a notice to appeal and bring the matter to the D.C. circuit courts of appeals.”
Wallach said that another option for online sports betting to be reinstated is to have it added to the November 2022 ballot. Wallach stated that this move is risky since it doesn’t guarantee the result and needs to be approved by 60% of voters.
Wallach stated that the legislature could meet again in session January or February to pass a sports betting law. However, this time, they would amend the compact to allow only in-person betting on Indian lands. If they do that, then there will be sports betting available on tribal properties.
Wallach indicated that there are no bets on Monday’s NFL game between New York Giants & Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I think the Seminole Tribe would make the right decision and declare the bets null ab initio. Wallach stated that the Seminole Tribe should declare the bets as invalid and refund the money to the customer.
Check out the complete opinion hereBelow.
Sports betting was made available in Florida by Hard Rock Sportsbook on Nov. 1. The app was still functioning at the time of the judge’s ruling.
West Flagler Associates, Bonita Fort Myers Corporation and Bonita Fort Myers Corporation filed lawsuits on Aug. 16 against Interior Sec.’s approval of their company. Deb Halland. Both of these groups have two brick-and mortar casinos in Florida.
Monterra MF and its coplaintiffs filed a separate contest to the approval on September 27.
The judge’s opinion states that all co-plaintiffs reside, work or own property within close proximity to Florida casinos. No Casinos is the other co-plaintiff. This non-profit organization opposes expanding gambling in Florida.
This story was published originally by Emily McCain at Scripps station WFTSTampa, Florida