Dustin Gouker: Florida sports betting conflict is far from over

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Following last week’s legal ruling effectively banning sports betting in Florida, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been instructed by a federal district judge that there will be no stay in implementing the decision. It has also been forbidden from adding roulette and craps to its Florida casinos. 

Attorneys arguing on behalf of the Seminoles said that the tribe would lose significant revenue from online sports betting, some of which would be used to fund tribal programs. But the calls were dismissed by US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich who found that the tribe had not proven that it would be irreparably harmed if a stay was not sanctioned.

Offering its take on last week’s landmark ruling was PlayFL.com, part of the PlayUSA network. Summarizing the decision, it noted: “Under IGRA, all gambling must take place on tribal lands when authorized by state compacts. Online sports betting in Florida, however, takes place statewide under the Seminole compact. 

“Friedrich’s opinion states, ‘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. And although the Compact deem[s] all sports betting to occur at the location of the Tribe’s sports book(s) and supporting servers[,] this Court cannot accept that fiction’.”

PlayFL continued: “As of Tuesday morning the Hard Rock’s sports betting app was still operating. But it must soon stop accepting wagers under the ruling. After that, more litigation. The Department of the Interior will likely appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The DOI will also likely ask for a stay of the circuit court opinion.”

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayFL.com, noted: “We knew from the beginning the unusual nature of the compact would eventually put the fate of Florida sports betting in the hands of the courts, and this is far from over. The future for Florida sports betting stands on shakier legal ground and its future is far murkier today than it was yesterday.”