Florida sports betting gets big win in court

ORLANDO, Fla. — The D.C. Circuit Court has handed the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe a big win, reversing a lower court decision that struck down the gaming compact signed between the state and the tribe in 2021.


“Thus, to be sure, an IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) gaming compact can legally authorize a tribe to conduct gaming only on its own lands. But at the same time, IGRA does not prohibit a gaming compact—which is, at bottom, an agreement between a tribe and a state—from discussing other topics, including those governing activities outside Indian lands,” wrote the court.

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The ruling comes after months of litigation with a group of nontribal gaming facilities in South Florida arguing that the compact violated federal law by allowing the Seminole Tribe to accept sports bets from anywhere in the state, so long as the computer servers processing those bets were on Seminole land.

While the ruling appears to clear the way for the Seminole Tribe to resume its Hard Rock Sports Betting App, the court did leave open the possibility that state courts may have an issue with the compact and its possible conflict with the Florida Constitution, which prohibits the expansion of gambling off of Indian lands, with the court writing, “Rather, the Compact itself authorizes only the betting that occurs on the Tribe’s lands; in this respect it satisfied IGRA. Whether it is otherwise lawful for a patron to place bets from non-tribal land within Florida may be a question for that State’s courts, but it is not the subject of this litigation and not for us to decide.”

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In a statement to Channel 9 the Seminole Tribe wrote:

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is pleased with today’s unanimous decision.  It is a positive outcome for the Seminole Tribe and the people of Florida, and for all of Indian Country.  The Tribe is fully reviewing the decision to determine its next steps.”

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