Florida’s Seminole Tribe has cleared yet another hurdle on the path to unveiling its legal online sportsbooks. On Monday, a federal judge dismissed one of three lawsuits filed against both Governor Ron DeSantis and state secretary Julie Brown.
Details About the Suit
The case was initially brought to the courts by two of the state’s pari-mutuel facilities: Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room. The legal complaint came in response to
a deal that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive access to Florida sportsbook operations.
The signing of the Seminole Gaming Compact included provisions for these pari-mutuels to extract a small profit from the state’s online betting services. However, Bonita Springs and Magic City were left unsatisfied with this compromise.
Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino, both owned by the Havencick family, alleged that the 30-year agreement would cause a “significant and potentially devastating impact on their businesses.”
Florida Pari-Mutuels Claim Foul-Play
The suit sought injunctive relief that would put a halt to sports betting operations in Florida.
Lawyers for the pari-mutuel called the semantics of the compact “legal fiction.”
“Through this fiction, the compact and implementing law seek to expand sports betting outside of Indian lands to individuals located anywhere in Florida so long as they have a computer and internet connection — subject only to the tribe’s monopoly,”
Additionally, the lawsuit claimed that the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary had unlawfully approved the compact, violating the IGRA’s ‘Indian Lands’ requirement.
Despite the verbose choice of words employed by the Havenick’s lawyers, U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor was quick to throw out the case. According to the ruling, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate the harm done by the compact.
“The pari-mutuels lack standing to sue the governor or the secretary because their actions are not fairly traceable to any alleged harm. In addition, the requested declaratory and injunctive relief would provide no legal or practical redress to the pari-mutuels’ injuries,” – Judge Allen Winsor
Allen’s dismissal of the case represents a huge win for the Seminole Tribe, but the fight isn’t quite over. The Havenicks filed another suit in Washington D.C. that has yet to be seen by a courtroom. And that isn’t even the last part of the drama.
With a ballot initiative backed by DraftKings and FanDuel and an anti-gambling lawsuit in their future, 2022 is going to be a big year for attorneys representing the Seminole Tribe.
Despite these obstacles, it would be hard to imagine that any of these entities could infringe on the sovereignty of the Seminole people.
How To Bet In Florida
The Seminole Tribe has been fully authorized to launch retail and online sports betting operations since October 15th. Even so, the Tribe has yet to announce exactly when residents will have access to domestic sportsbooks.
For now, Florida bettors can still participate in the Fall betting season with offshore online sportsbooks. If you’re not sure where to start, we have pages of reviews detailing the pros and cons of every major sportsbook.