Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing events and litigation of the newly approved Florida Gambling Compact. Most of the controversy has focused on online gambling via mobile sports betting and the lack of popular vote to make it legal in Florida, which was indeed the focus of two parimutuel casinos lawsuits in July. However, after the official approval, one of the parimutuel companies, Magic City Casino, is pushing forward with another lawsuit. The Miami Herald explains this new national angle:
Upping the ante in the courts, two parimutuel facilities have filed a second federal lawsuit challenging a 30-year gambling agreement reached by Gov. Ron DeSantis that gives the Seminole Tribe control over sports betting throughout Florida.
The latest legal challenge, filed Monday in Washington, D.C., came less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of the Interior signed off on a gambling “compact” negotiated by DeSantis and passed by the Florida Legislature in May.
Owners of Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida contend in the lawsuit that the sports-betting plan violates federal laws and will cause a “significant and potentially devastating” impact on their businesses.
[C]alling Florida’s sports-betting model a “legal fiction,” the parimutuels’ lawsuits maintain that federal law does not authorize bets that occur off tribal lands.
“Through this fiction, the compact and implementing law seek to expand sports betting outside of Indian lands to individuals located anywhere in Florida so long as they have a computer and internet connection — subject only to the tribe’s monopoly,” lawyers for the parimutuels wrote in Monday’s 43-page lawsuit, which names as defendants Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and her agency.
Part of the argument being made in court, is how the agreement was approved, or rather, not specifically approved. The option existed to outright approve the agreement, but instead, no approval, or denial was given, thus allowing the agreement to de facto stand after 45 days. This was cited as being the result of known lack of federal authority to allow the spoke and hub gambling model. The Miami Herald continued:
“Although Secretary Haaland could have approved a compact between Florida and the tribe to permit in-person or online sports betting by patrons physically on the tribe’s reservations, the plain language of IGRA prevents her from approving the compact here because it does not comply with IGRA’s ‘Indian lands’ requirement. The compact therefore both violates IGRA and falls outside the scope of compacts she is authorized to approve in the first instance,” the parimutuels’ lawyers wrote.
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