Sports betting in Florida is on hold after a federal court ruled on Monday that the compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe is vacated.
The ruling in West Flagler Associates vs. Haaland from Judge Dabney Friedrich means that pending an appeal and a potential stay of the order, sports betting will need to cease in the Sunshine State.
In the case in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, pari-mutuel operators in Florida claimed that the compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Department of the Interior, led by Secretary Deb Haaland, allowed the compact to become law earlier this year.
“The Court will hold that the Compact violates IGRA and grant the West Flagler plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment,” Friedrich opens with before laying out the rationale.
Under IGRA, all gambling must take place on tribal lands when authorized by state compacts. Online sports betting, however, takes place statewide under the Seminole compact. That document endeavored to say that all wagers take place on servers on tribal land, regardless of where the bettor is located in the state.
Friedrich, in the opinion sets out that “it is well-settled that IGRA authorizes sports betting only on Indian lands. … “It is equally clear that the Secretary must reject compacts that violate IGRA’s terms.”
Florida sports betting stands on much shakier legal ground than it did yesterday. And its immediate future is murky.