The Seminole Tribe is trying to make a federal lawsuit that has challenged a new gambling compact between the state and the Native American tribe fail. The controversial gambling agreement seeks to get permission for the Seminoles to offer sports betting services in Florida.
On August 31st, the legal representatives of the Seminole Tribe of Florida filed court documents seeking to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit that has been filed by two pari-mutuel service operators. The Indian tribe’s lawyers argue that the legal action should be dismissed.
The lawsuit against the gaming compact of the Seminole Tribe of Florida was filed in Tallahassee on July 2nd, by the owners of Bonita Springs Poker Room in the Southwest part of the state and Magic City Casino in the Dade County of Miami. According to the plaintiffs, the sports betting plan passed by local lawmakers in May is in breach of US federal laws. Florida lawmakers, on the other hand, backed the plan as part of the gambling agreement that was negotiated earlier in 2021 between Governor Ron DeSantis and the tribal leaders.
The newly filed lawsuit named Governor Ron DeSantis and Julie Brown, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, as defendants.
Seminoles’ Gambling Agreement with Governor DeSantis Expected to Bring Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
In the documents that were filed on August 31st by their lawyers, the Seminoles argue that the legal action against their gaming compact should be dismissed because the tribe is constituted as an indispensable party in the legal challenge faced by the agreement. In addition, the Seminole Tribe cited its right to sovereign immunity that is an instrument that keeps it protected against lawsuits.
In order to seek dismissal of the lawsuit, the tribe explained that it had been required to file a motion to formally intervene in the case. The motion in question states that the Seminole Tribe of Florida was expected to generate profits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars from offering sports betting services over the life of its gambling compact from 2021. The tribe claims that it would lose those profits in case the challenged provisions are invalidated by the court’s ruling. As mentioned above, under the provisions of the gambling agreement with Governor DeSantis, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been allowed to offer sports betting services that, until recently, have not been legal on the territory of the state.
The legal action argues that, in part, a piece of legislation called the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not allow sports bets to be placed from outside tribal lands. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that the structure of the abovementioned plan has been part of an effort to circumvent a 2018 state constitutional amendment that requires Florida voters to give their approval of gambling expansion of the local gambling sector.
A separate lawsuit has been filed in Washington D.C. against the US Department of The Interior and Deb Haaland, the Interior Secretary, by the two pari-mutuel gambling operators.