Florida Sports Betting Punted Until At Least November

The gaming compact signed between Florida’s governor and the Seminole Tribe of Florida earlier this year sets the framework for sports betting in the state with an Oct. 15 target date.  

The tribe today said that the launch date is now unknown. 

An exact launch date for mobile sports betting in Florida has not been announced,” Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the Seminole Tribe, told The Miami Herald on Wednesday.

The Herald reported that legal documents filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicated the start date could be Nov. 15 at the earliest. 

Legal Cases Pending

The Nov. 15-date comes as part of the tribe’s response to a motion to block entirely the sports betting portion of the compact by two pari-mutuel companies in Florida — The Magic City Casino Room and the Bonita Springs Poker Room. 

The companies are suing Deb Haaland, the secretary of the Interior, alleging she illegally approved the compact in August. They want the court to overturn her decision and bar sports betting in the state until a new compact is finalized. 

At the heart of their argument, and several other cases filed against the state in the D.C. court, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, is the location of the bet. 

Federal and state law stipulates gambling may only take place on tribal lands. The compact addresses this by arguing the mobile bets will be placed through a server placed on tribal lands. 

Daniel Wallach, a Florida attorney who specializes in gambling law, broke the filing late last night.  In a Twitter thread he outlined the case against the state and DOI, and argued the plaintiffs have a strong argument. 

But Bob Jarvis, a gambling law expert at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, has said in the past he does not expect the courts to overturn the DOI decision.  The approval, which is necessary as a result of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, is reached in large part based on what is in the best interests of the tribe.  The tribe wants this deal so it would be unlikely DOI would overrule them, he told Gaming Today last week.


About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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