The battle over Florida sports betting got some new life recently, as the Biden administration took the unprecedented step of encouraging an appeals court to reinstate their agreement with the Seminole Tribe. Things in Florida have been quiet on this issue since a District Judge put an end to that agreement back in November of last year.
There was a brief filed by the Department of the Interior last week which defended the White House decision to allow the sports betting agreement, supporting the gaming compact in place between the state and the tribe. That agreement was signed in April of last year and would remain in effect for the next 30 years.
That compact allows sports bets to be placed from anywhere in the state via online and mobile devices, so long as those bets get processed on Tribal land. The US Department of Justice says the compact reflect a “permissible hybrid” where bets which occur off Tribal land are authorized under state law, and bets which occur on Tribal lands are authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Opponents of this Florida sports betting agreement, mostly casinos and card rooms, say it actually violates the IGRA. That position may be motivated in large part by the fact that they also believe the compact will cause “significant and potentially devastating” harm to their business.
The White House brief concluded that “The legality of any non-Indian land activities discussed in a compact is instead a matter of state law: If the courts ultimately decide that those activities are not authorized by state law, then those activities will not be permitted, regardless of what the compact contemplates.”