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Pari-Mutuel Entities Withdraw Their Appeal in Gambling Lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe of Florida

Two pari-mutuel entities have withdrawn an appeal of the decision of a Florida federal judge to dismiss a challenge to the Seminole Tribe’s gambling compact that provided the Native American nation with control of sports betting within the state.

A few days ago, the legal representatives of Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino addressed the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals and asked it to dismiss the appeal of the federal judge’s decision. The request was officially approved by the court at the beginning of the week.

Back in October, US District Judge Allen Winsor ruled against the two pari-mutuels, saying they had no legal grounds to take Governor Ron DeSantis and his administration to court over the gambling agreement he inked with the local Seminole Tribe. The gambling deal, also known as a compact, was negotiated between the tribal leaders and Florida Governor, and then was officially approved by state lawmakers at a special legislative session in May 2021.

The two aforementioned pari-mutuel entities – Southwest Florida-based Bonita Springs Poker Room and Miami-Dade County-based Magic City Casino – have filed separate legal action in Washington DC and Tallahassee. Its Washington DC case was filed against the regulatory body that oversees gambling issues of the Indian tribes in the country – the US Department of the Interior.

Judge in Another Lawsuit Says Seminoles’ Gambling Compact Breaches a Federal Law

In November, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, as she decided that the gambling compact of the Seminole Tribe with the state violated a federal law known as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Native American tribe has appealed the ruling of Judge Friedrich, which also rejected the nation’s motion to intervene in the legal action and have it fully dismissed.

As CasinoGamesPro reported at the beginning of December, a 3-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the Seminole Tribe’s request to put the above-mentioned ruling of Judge Friedrich on hold while the appeal was pending a ruling. The rejection forced the tribe to take action in line with the judge’s decision, which is why it ceased the operation of its Hard Rock SportsBook mobile application on December 4th, only about a month after it started accepting players’ sports wagers in early November.

The lawsuits have been primarily focused on part of the tribe’s gambling agreement that provided Florida gamblers with the opportunity to place wagers on sports online from all over the state, without being physically present on reservation land. Under the provisions of the compact, the wagers would have been operated through computer servers situated on the tribal property of the Seminoles. According to Judge Friedrich, the amended gambling agreement of the Native American nation violated federal law exactly because the bets would have been placed off-tribal lands.

The two pari-mutuel operators filed a notice that they were bringing Judge Winsor’s dismissal of their Florida case to appeal after Judge Friedrich announced her ruling on November 22nd.

 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.