Florida Sports Betting Lawsuit Dismissed with More On the Way

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

The landscape of legal sports betting in the state of Florida is quite complicated. The Seminole tribe has been getting ready for the eventual launch but unfortunately, they still have a lot of opposition in the form of lawsuits. One of those was dismissed yesterday but that is far from the end of this story.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Seminole Tribe

The Seminole Tribe scored a deal with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to allow them to accept legal sports wagers in the state. The way the deal is constructed, the tribe essentially has a monopoly when it comes to legal sports betting in the state. Since PASPA was struck down back in 2018, many sports betting fans have been eagerly waiting for Florida to get in on the act.

There was hope that they had finally gotten there with the deal between the tribe and the governor but other stakeholders had different ideas. A series of lawsuits challenging the legality of the compact has been filed in court. One of them was recently dismissed to the delight of the tribe and Gov DeSantis no doubt.

Owners of the Magic City Casino in Miami and the Bonita Springs Poker Room which is located in southwest Florida originally filed the lawsuit in July. The lawsuit claimed that the compact was in violation of federal law. Even President Joe Biden got involved when his administration asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Reasons for Opposition to Compact

As stated earlier, the reason that other stakeholders are not happy with the compact is that it grants a virtual monopoly to the Seminole Tribe. Under the compact, the tribe would control all forms of sports betting which means they will have their own facilities where they operate however, if any other stakeholder wants to get in on the action, they must go through the tribe.

This means for example, if any other sportsbook wants to take online bets, they must do so from servers that are located on Seminole land. That means they will be paying a percentage directly to the tribe for all of their action. In effect, that gives the tribe absolute power in Florida when it comes to legal sports betting.

Players in Florida and across the country that don’t yet have access to legalized sports betting via mobile can go to OddsTrader once this changes. OddsTrader currently offers betting odds comparison in Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa, and West Virginia.

The individual who made the final ruling, U.S District Judge Allen Winsor, was very clear as to why he came to this decision. Under federal law, the Havenick family, owners of both facilities that brought about the lawsuit, had to allege facts to demonstrate an “injury in fact” that is “fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant” and is “likely to be redressed by a favorable decision.”

Also while the tribes are not allowed to offer online wagering themselves, the fact that the servers will be on their grounds does not appear to violate federal law. Whatever the case, this is a win for sports betting fans in Florida. There are still more hurdles to clear but this is a good way to get started on that journey.

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