Two Florida casinos are challenging the new sports betting deal signed between Gov. DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe.
The Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida filed a lawsuit against Deb Haaland’s Secretary of Interior and requested a federal judge to block the deal.
The plaintiffs argue that even though the federal government allowed the deal, it should reverse its decision until the state establishes a legal sports-betting compact.
Under the current deal, which is supposed to launch on October 15th, anyone over 21 can place and collect online wagers anywhere in the state. All transactions would be processed through servers on Seminole lands. That would bypass federal and state laws.
The plaintiffs state that anyone placing a wager online is technically gambling outside tribal lands, which is illegal. The new deal violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), established in 1988.
The IGRA regulates Indian gaming and bans gambling outside tribal lands.
The secondary argument by Magic City and Bonita Springs Poker Room is that the deal gives an advantage to the Seminoles over other tribes, which is also unlawful under the IGRA and violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
Plaintiffs argue that they will lose existing and new customers by not offering a competitive service. They would “suffer a loss of goodwill developed over decades of development of their in-person facilities.”
The current compact allows the Seminoles to offer sports betting in six of their reservations.
Existing racetracks and jai-alai frontons can develop their own mobile apps and conduct off-site betting, as long as the Seminoles choose them as partners. The pari-mutuels would receive 60% of the profits and the tribe the remaining 40%.
The court has scheduled a November 5th hearing.