Last week, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis celebrated the successful advancement of a renewed 30-year gambling agreement estimated to at least $2.5 billion in the next five years and even more over the following ones.
However, there are some legal challenges posed to the agreement at both state and federal levels. According to experts, the uncertainty of whether the compact is to overcome these challenges is exactly why the agreement includes a severability clause that is set to guarantee that the main part of the compact is not to be affected in any way in case state or federal authorities eliminate the provisions under which Florida will legalize sports betting.
Attorneys for both parties have shared they expect lawsuits to be filed – one questioning whether the constitutional Amendment 3 of Florida is violated by the newly agreed compact and at least one challenging whether statewide online sports betting services are allowed under the federal Indian gambling legislation.
And while sports betting is not part of the types of gambling that could typically be found in casinos and is specifically banned by Amendment 3, the president of No Casinos, John Sowinski, who was also among the main sponsors of the amendment, explained that state voters clearly wanted to prevent the expansion of all types of gambling outside tribal lands. This is exactly why debate regarding the gambling compact and whether it does or does not violate the provisions of Amendment 3 is expected.
New Compact Will Need the Approval of the US Department of Interior to Take Effect
Another problem has originated from the fact that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which the US Department of Interior imposed, is considered a much higher bar to overcome. In order to take effect, the gambling contract between the state and the Seminole Tribe must get the approval of the US Department of Interior, and the tribe is the one that is largely expected to win the approval of the Government’s body.
The increased interest of US states to make sports betting legal and capitalize on the new form of gambling has made many Indian Tribes support such an expansion. Still, the federal laws keep some forms of gambling exclusively for local Indian tribes and to their benefit.
Some questions regarding the rights to conduct statewide mobile sports betting services remain unclear, so some changes will have to be made. The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Party members Brian Higgins and Anthony Brindisi and two Republican Party members – Paul Gosar and John Katko. It would define an online sports wager as a bet made through servers on tribal land.
According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), the addition of sports betting to the legal forms of gambling in Florida is expected to bring $7 billion every year. Some experts have claimed that the expansion of gambling would bring back some money to the state that has already been placed illegally by Florida residents via smartphones and other electronic devices linked to servers outside the state.