No Casinos Incorporated, an organization that combats gambling expansion in the Sunshine State, is preparing to launch a lawsuit and stop the compact between the Florida Government and the Seminole Native American tribe. As CasinoGamesPro already wrote, President Biden’s administration cleared the way for the agreement earlier this week. The latter will give the Native American tribe exclusive rights to provide sports betting to Florida residents over the next 30 years.
Governor Ronald DeSantis and Marcellus Osceola Jr, the Council Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, signed the gambling agreement in April this year. In May, the compact gained the approval of the state legislature during a special session. The US Department of the Interior allowed the agreement to come into effect after the required 45-day period for review ended without any comments. Now the anti-gambling organization is readying a suit to stop the compact.
John Sowinski, an anti-gambling lobbyist and president of No Casinos Inc., is adamant the organization will do whatever it takes to prevent further gambling expansion via the compact in the state. According to Mr. Sowinski, No Casinos Inc. is ready to take the matter to court, “both at the federal level and state level”.
Under the provisions of the gambling agreement, the Seminoles will start offering sports betting, along with chance games like roulette and craps, from October 15. The trouble is such forms of gambling are still not legal in the Sunshine State. Because of this, only Florida voters can decide whether gambling should expand further in the state, Mr. Sowinski argues.
The Group Insists the Compact Violates Amendment 3
The anti-gambling activists insist that the compact is in violation of Amendment 3 that has been voted by 72% of the Sunshine State’s residents. The Seminole Tribe and Florida’s Governor Ronald DeSantis have placed their confidence in Section C of Amendment 3 approved by voters back in 2018. Governor DeSantis commented in April this year that he believes the compact satisfied said amendment.
The representatives of the anti-gambling organization beg to differ, however. According to Mr. Sowinski, state lawmakers lack the jurisdiction to duly authorize sports wagering, table games, or any other form of casino gaming without first gaining the approval of Florida voters.
State residents have repeatedly voted against the introduction of casino gaming, first in 1978 and then in 1986 and 1994. Slot machines gained their approval with a slight majority back in 2004 but only in the southern parts of the state.
The anti-gambling organization argues that the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act permits only forms of gambling that have already been legalized in Florida to take place on the territory of tribal reservations. The court will most likely have the final say on the matter.