Florida Sports Betting Compact Appeal

The Department of the Interior and the Seminole Tribe of Florida have both filed briefs in support of their appeal to the District Court for the District of Columbia’s ruling that ended regulated sports betting in Florida. In their briefs, both parties argue their case for why they believe the appeal should be successful.

Florida Sports Betting Compact Ruling

The federal district court in Washington DC ruled in November 2021 that Florida’s attempt to give the Seminole Tribe a monopoly on sports betting is invalid and illegal. The judge halted all expansion indefinitely, meaning no more money can go towards expanding gaming or installing new machines for at least two years while this litigation pays itself out.

Some of the note-worthy information about the ruling :

  1. The West Flagler Associates plaintiffs had to stand to bring their claim
  2. The Seminole Tribe was not an indispensable party to the litigation; and
  3. The provisions deemed incompatible with IGRA were not severable from the rest of the compact.
seats arena numbered and colored florida

Department of the Interior Opening Brief

The Department of Interior begins its brief in the Sports Betting Compact Ruling Appeal by laying out a legal framework for gaming on tribal lands. The first argument that they make is that IGRA permits compacts to contemplate out-of-state betting and does not require an affirmative duty from federal officials who are overseeing these agreements.

It also noted that the compact is permitted negotiating gambling outside of the tribal land. It highlights horse racing outside the tribal land as an example but it did not further discuss the horse racing is under such a regulatory structure.

The brief also addresses the ruling which states that the IGRA was violated by the compact by mentioning that the IGRA does not govern off-tribal land betting.

Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Opening Brief

On the other hand, The Seminole Tribe’s argument is focused on the District Court’s conclusion that they were not an indispensable party. Specifically, their lawyers point out a flaw in how immunity was weighed when it came to weighing against other factors.

It argues that the Tribe should have been involved with litigation lawsuits. All parties involved will negotiate or settle without them being directly involved with any negotiations/settlements happening between each member rather than coming together as one big group decision-making process which includes everyone who claims ownership interest within certain areas.

Following that, Seminole Tribe brings up the argument that Rule 19(b) analysis of the court has misinterpreted the law. Here are the four factors that should be analyzed to determine if parties must be joined.

(1) “the extent to which a judgment rendered in the person’s absence might prejudice that person or the existing parties;”

(2) “the extent to which any prejudice could be lessened or


(3) “whether a judgment rendered in the person’s absence would be adequate;”

(4) “whether the plaintiff would have an adequate remedy if the action were dismissed for nonjoinder.”