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Washington Appeals Court to Make a Ruling on Seminole Tribe’s Motion Seeking a Stay in Its Sports Betting Lawsuit

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has once again asked for a stay in its sports betting case. Now, the Native American nation has addressed a Washington DC-based appeals court seeking a stay of a ruling that previously rejected its gambling deal with the state as illegal.

The emergency motion was filed by the tribe’s lawyers a few days ago at the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia right after US District Judge Dabney Friedrich issued a ruling that the gambling compact between the state and the Native American nation breached federal law. As CasinoGamesPro reported on November 26th, Judge Friedrich subsequently refused to stay her ruling on the sports betting case while the tribe is pursuing an appeal.

Under an order issued by the appeals court, the attorneys for two pari-mutuel facilities that started a lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe’s compact have to respond by mid-day on November 30th.

Also, the appeals court ordered the US Department of the Interior, which is currently constituted as the defendant in the lawsuit as it was the one to finally approve the gambling deal between the state of Florida and the Seminoles, to respond to the motion.

Judge Friedrich Rules That the Seminole’s Compact Violates Federal Law

As previously reported, the Seminole Tribe of Florida was given control of sports betting as part of its compact with the state that was signed in the spring by its Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. and Governor Ron DeSantis. The deal then received the nod by the Local Legislature in a special session in May. Then, in August, the Department of the Interior, which is the body competent for overseeing Indian gambling issues, officially approved the 30-year agreement between the tribe and the state.

Then, the owners of two longtime pari-mutuel facilities, Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room, started legal action against the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and her agency, claiming that they violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), a federal law that sets up a framework for the regulation of gambling operations on tribal lands.

The rejection of the deal announced by Judge Friedrich centered on the fact that Florida gamblers were given the opportunity to place sports bets online from all over the state, while the computer servers that process the wagers are based on tribal property. According to her, that was in breach of federal law because the bets should not be placed off tribal lands.

The emergency motion for a stay, which was filed by the lawyers of the Seminole Tribe of Florida claims that Judge Friedrich made a mistake by denying an attempt that the tribe made to intervene in the case. The tribe sought intervention so it could file a motion seeking to dismiss the lawsuit based on its sovereign immunity.

In case the emergency motion turns out successful, last week’s ruling of Judge Friedrich would be put on hold until the Appeals Court makes a decision on the abovementioned intervention issue. The tribe also claims that the ruling has had an immediate negative effect on its operations and both the Native American nation and the state would lose millions in revenues because of it, not to mention the hundreds of jobs that could be furloughed or lost while the Appeals Court makes a resolution on the issue.

 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.