The historic gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe that is responsible for legalized sports betting in the state went before a federal judge Friday, and the hearing was not pretty.
That’s the take of at least one observer who was on the live-streamed audio hearing.
“The feds are seriously unprepared for this hearing,” Daniel Wallach, an attorney who specializes in gambling law, tweeted shortly after it began in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Friday morning.
The case, West Flagler Associates et al vs. Haaland et al, was filed by two pari-mutuel companies in Florida alleging the Department of Interior was wrong when it approved the gaming compact earlier this year.
What’s Next For Sports Betting In Florida
U.S. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and the first Native American to serve in a presidential cabinet, was required by law to approve the measure because it involves gambling on tribal lands.
But the West Flagler case, and others like it, argue the compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which specifies gaming must take place “on Indian lands.” According to the compact, mobile bets will be allowed anywhere within state lines, so long as the bets are processed through a server located on tribal lands.
Wallach has been an outspoken critic of the deal from the start. During the hearing, he repeatedly quoted Judge Dabney L. Freidrich as being frustrated with the government’s lack of preparation for the case.
“The government’s whole litigation strategy seems to be to delay this court from ruling,” Freidrich said, according to Wallach.
Freidrich, a Trump appointee, gave the federal government until Nov. 9 to add supplemental materials to their case. A ruling is expected on or before Nov. 15.