With only a few days to count before gambling becomes officially legal in Florida, the action in federal courts is starting to heat up. And more fillings are anticipated to happen in the coming days that would determine whether Florida’s Seminole Tribe will be able to remove gamblers from the tribal lands.
On Monday, Seminole’s tribe attorneys requested verbal arguments for its lately filed motions to step in and dismiss the case summoned by two Florida casino gaming operators. The gaming operators have argued that the new gaming treaty between the state and the Seminoles contravenes state and federal laws.
The Bonita Springs Poker Room and the Magic City Casino had filed a case on Friday in a Florida federal court seeking hastened consideration of pending motions in that lawsuit. The casino, which is in Miami, and the card room, located around 20 miles south of Fort Myers, are owned by the same firm.
In its proposal, filed in the US District Court in Florida’s Northern District, the complainants request a schedule that will allow for a decision to be made before November 15. It is contended that is when the gambling parts of the compact will be implemented.
The motion states,
“The compact seeks to, among other things, provide the Tribe with a statewide monopoly to offer sports betting, including online and off-reservation sports. This agreement is based on a legal fiction that the bets are deemed placed at computer servers located on the Tribe’s reservation even though the bettors can be located anywhere in the state.”
The compact concurred in the spring and confirmed by the Florida assembly in a special sitting allows the Seminoles to offer online sports betting statewide. Furthermore, it requires the Tribe to partner with some pari-mutuel entities, including Magic City, which offers jai alai, and Bonita Springs, which hosts a racing and jai alai telecast center. The complainants claim that part of the compact is also illegal since it too runs off tribal territories.
Movement steams up in DC federal suit, too
The same complainants in the Florida federal case also filed a second lawsuit in the Columbian federal district court. In that lawsuit, the casino operators filed against Interior Department and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on August 16. In the accusation, the businesses contend the compact is unlawful since permitting the Seminoles to offer gambling off its sovereign state violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
Federal executives received the compact on June 21 and began a 45-day review process. On August 7, the executives claimed they took no action on the agreement, which means it is approved. However, in the notification letter, federal executives state that approval only covers portions of the agreement agreeable with IGRA.
Seminoles contend contingent interest
While a motion for an admonition seems likely in the next few days, a new suggestion to the case was added on Friday when the Seminoles filed a suit to step in and state its intention to seek the DC-based case dismissal.
In the lawsuit, the Tribe’s attorneys claimed Seminoles has the right to intercede since it would be directly affected economically by any ruling in the complainants’ favor. Both Haaland and the federal agency have no such interest in the case.
The motion stated,
“The Tribe expects to realize significantly increased profits from expanded gaming under the 2021 compact, including from the online sports betting, specifically challenged in this case. Those profits will be lost if the department’s deemed approval of the 2021 compact were vacated and set aside, as plaintiffs request.”
In addition, Seminoles identify that the gambling parts of the amended gaming compact are dissolvable. Because that means a court could choose to disprove some of those provisions when leaving the rest valid. The Tribe’s attorneys claim that this gives the government even less reason to defend the provisions that tribal leaders consider vital.
Last Updated on by Ryan