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US Department of the Interior Attorneys Say Seminole Tribe’s Gambling Compact Is In Line with Federal Law

The US Department of the Interior has replied to the allegations that the latest deal between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state violates federal law, pointing to a decision by the Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis to allow the Indian Tribe to accept sports wagers not only on the tribal land bit from the entire state.

Late on November 10th, the attorneys of the US Department of the Interior filed a 33-page court document in Washington D.C., claiming that the sports betting agreement of the state with the Seminoles does not violate the federal law under which tribal gambling is allowed – the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

Last week, a hearing was held by the US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich in a legal action filed by two pari-mutuel facility operators that challenged the tribe’s compact. At the time, the Judge ordered the legal representatives of the Department to submit additional arguments on the matter.

The owners of Southwest Florida’s Bonita Springs Poker Room and the Miami-Dade County-based Magic City Casino started legal action against the federal agency’s decision to allow the gambling agreement of the Seminole Tribe and the state to move forward. According to them, federal law does not allow sports bets to occur outside tribal lands. The plaintiffs also claim that the sports betting agreement could have a devastating impact on their business since sports betting services offered by the Seminoles would siphon their revenue.

Court Needs to Make Sure Seminole Tribe Can Accept Sports Bets Outside Tribal Lands under the IGRA

As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, the gambling contract, known as a compact, was negotiated by Governor DeSantis this spring. Under the provisions of the agreement, people throughout the state of Florida would be allowed to use their mobile devices to place sports wagers. The bets, however, would be run through computer servers situated on tribal land. The deal was officially approved by the local Legislature in a special session in May and, as a result, the Secretary of the US Department of the Interior, Deb Haaland, allowed the agreement to take effect in August 2021.

Now, it is extremely important for the court to find out whether the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) provides the Seminole Tribe of Florida to accept bets that are placed outside its tribal property. In their latest filing from November 10th, the federal attorneys confirmed that the compact would provide the residents of the state with the opportunity to place bets outside tribal lands but reiterated their position that such bets have officially been allowed by the state.

The document reads that the compact between the Governor and the local Indian Tribe is in line with federal law, with the agreement clearly saying that gaming activity that occurs outside the tribe’s reservation lands is actually legal under state law. Furthermore, the document states that all gaming activity that occurs on the tribe’s reservation property is legal under the provisions of the IGRA pursuant to the aforementioned compact.

According to the attorneys of the US Department of the Interior, the state law that ratified the gambling deal of the Indian tribe and the state had authorized Florida residents to place online sports bets with the tribe when they are not physically present at reservation lands.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.