The beginning of the week saw a second federal lawsuit seeking to stop sports betting expansion in the state of Florida filed in the District of Columbia. This time, two of the biggest business leaders in Miami – auto retailer Norman Braman and developer Armando Codina – are taking the US Secretary of the Interior to court.
According to allegations of the legal action against Deb Haaland, the US Secretary of the Interior, the federal government improperly permitted the State of Florida to circumvent the state’s Constitution in terms of the gaming compact of the local Seminole Tribe. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the permission of off-reservation sports betting was breaching Federal Law.
Furthermore, the lawsuit makes claims that both the Florida legislators and Governor Ron DeSantis violated the federal Wire Act and Indian gaming legislation by giving the green light to gambling services outside the Indian reservation lands. Miami business leaders also allege that the authorities illegally allowed online gambling services to be offered in the state and so-called interstate transactions where sports betting is still not permitted.
The legal action filed by Mr. Codina and Mr. Braman seeks the court of the District of Columbia to suspend the gambling agreement between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor DeSantis under the allegations that the compact breaches the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. According to the plaintiffs, the compact unlawfully sought to enrich non-tribal interests rather than seeking ways to protect the rights and interests of local Native American Tribes and their members.
New Gaming Compact between Governor DeSantis and the Seminoles Faces Opposition
As CasinoGamesPro has already reported, the deal signed between Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida and approved by the state’s Legislature allowed anyone in the state over the age of 21 to place and collect online wagers on sporting events from anywhere in Florida as of October 15th. In return for the right to offer sports betting, the local Indian tribe has agreed to a revenue-sharing agreement under which it will have to pay at least $2.5 billion to the state over the first 5 years of its 30-year gaming compact.
Under the provisions of the gaming compact, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is allowed to accept sports wagers at six of its reservations. The agreement, however, also makes it possible for the existing racetracks in the state to develop their own mobile applications and to offer sports betting services off-reservation lands in case the Seminole Tribe chooses them as its partners. Under the provisions of the gaming compact, in such cases, the parimutuel operators will get 60% of the proceeds from each bet, while the Seminole Tribe will get the remaining 40%.
Furthermore, the deal allows the Hard Rock casinos of the tribe in Hillsborough and Broward counties to add some traditional casino games, which will make the venues full Las Vegas-style casinos.
The two Miami business leaders who filed the lawsuit have also shared their concern with a certain provision of the deal, under which the Seminole Tribe of Florida gives up its exclusive right to hold all casino licenses outside an 18-mile boundary of its Hard Rock Casino that is situated in close proximity to Hollywood. A couple of entities have already indicated their intentions to seek permission to transfer a gambling license from an already existing parimutuel venue to their properties.
This has not been the only legal action against the new gaming compact of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. On September 28th, West Flagler Associates filed another lawsuit seeking a ban to be imposed on the tribe’s online sports betting operations that are set to be launched on November 15th. The Federal Court has scheduled a hearing for the oral arguments on the West Flagler motion for November 5th.