To safeguard its right to offer sports betting in Florida, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has taken action. On Monday, the tribe filed an appellant brief in a federal court case that could determine the legality of sports betting in Florida.
If the tribe’s appeal is accepted, they will most likely ask for the case to be dismissed due to their claim of sovereign immunity. The Seminoles’ journey toward providing sports betting in Florida has only just begun, and they are sure to face many challenges along the way.
Florida Parimutuels Take On U.S. Department Of The Interior In Court
This case is between two Florida parimutuels and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and it will be tried in the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The pre-existing federal district court ruling affirms that the Seminole Tribe’s 2021 compact with Florida is invalid, which therefore means the tribe cannot offer digital sports betting.
The case is important because it could set a precedent for how tribal sovereignty is interpreted when it comes to gambling rights. If the Court of Appeals rules in favor of the Seminole Tribe, it could open the door for other tribes to challenge state laws that restrict their gambling operations. However, if the Court rules against the Seminole Tribe, it could reaffirm the power of states to regulate digital sports betting.
The Department of the Interior was sued by individuals because they cannot sue a tribe, which is considered its own sovereign nation. However, in the brief, the Seminoles argue that they are not “adequately represented” by the DOI and that the agency provided them with “inadequate representation.” At different times, West Flagler has sued both the DOI and the tribe. Currently, these cases are combined in federal court.
The Seminole-Florida Compact And The Future Of Digital Wagering
The tribe launched a digital sports betting platform via their Hard Rock Digital app but was ordered to take it down by a District Court Judge. The tribe appealed the ruling, but the appellate court upheld the original decision. The tribe has now taken the platform down, pending the outcome of the case.
If the compact is considered legal, it could change the way that tribes are allowed to offer to wager. The commonly held belief is that IGRA only applies to gamble on tribal lands and not digital gambling. The proposed 2021 Seminole-Florida compact would allow for digital wagering throughout the state, but all bets would have to be made through servers located on Seminole lands.
If this type of compact is found to be legal, it could set a precedent that would change the way tribal casinos operate nationwide. This model is not in effect anywhere in the U.S., but if it were to become law, it would have significant ramifications.