New gambling deal: There will be lawsuits

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s new gambling deal with the Seminole tribe has not even taken effect and yet all sides are bracing for litigation.

“I don’t think there’s any chance of doing a gaming deal to the size and scope that was negotiated without a legal challenge,” said Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “Obviously having this kind of agreement and navigating the icebergs of legal hurdles as you do it.”

The deal, which would represent the most significant expansion of gambling in Florida in more than a decade faces two major challenges:  Florida’s constitution and federal law.

READ: The most controversial part of the state’s new gambling deal is gone

In 2018, 71.4% of Florida voters approved Amendment 3 which places all decisions on the expansion of casino gambling in the hands of voters, not the legislature.  However, the amendment does allow for the expansion of gambling through the Seminole Tribe, which is governed by federal law.

As far as federal law, the deal must still be approved by the US Department of the Interior.

READ: Florida legislature’s attempt to expand gambling in the state faces local, federal obstacles

In addition, courts have held that gambling happens where the player is located, not where a computer server is located, something that could jeopardize the plans for a mobile sports betting app, since such an expansion outside of Seminole lands has not been approved.