Online gaming

Federal judge quashes Seminole online gambling pact

WASHINGTON, DC (WWSB) – A federal judge derailed a $ 2.5 billion deal brokered by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year that would allow gamers statewide to use mobile devices to place sports bets which are executed through computer servers on the Seminole tribal property.

On Monday evening, U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ruled that the U.S. Department of the Interior had approved the deal and that the sports betting plan violated India’s gambling regulation law by not restricting gambling activities. game at tribal property.

The owners of Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room in southwest Florida have filed a lawsuit challenging the federal agency’s decision to authorize the pact.

The key question in the lawsuit is whether the gambling law, known as the IGRA, allows the Seminoles to accept bets placed outside of tribal ownership.

In his ruling, Friedrich said the reasoning that online betting takes place not where customers actually place the bets, “but rather at the location of the sportsbook and the tribe’s servers,” is wrong. “…” gambling activity “in IGRA describes” the elements involved in Class III games “, not the administrative actions that support them,” she wrote.

Citing a similar decision in Michigan, “Because the Compact allows customers to wager on Indian lands, and because these bets are clearly labeled ‘gambling’… makes it clear that the Instant Pact allows gambling on Indian lands.” ”

At a press conference Tuesday morning in Fort Lauderdale, DeSantis said the court’s decision came as no complete surprise. “We expected this to happen,” saying it was an “unresolved legal issue”. He criticized the Home Office for making a weak argument at the federal hearing. “They weren’t prepared,” he said.

DeSantis also said he expected the decision to be appealed.

As part of the 30-year pact, the Seminoles had agreed to pay the state at least $ 2.5 billion over the first five years in return for controlling sports betting throughout Florida and allowing it to ‘add craps and roulette to the tribe’s casino operations. The tribe launched sports betting on November 1.

The Florida legislature passed the law approving the agreement in a special session in May. US Home Secretary Deb Haaland authorized the pact to go into effect in August.

– Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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