The US Department of the Interior and the Seminole Tribe appealed a federal court decision invalidating the Tribe’s new gaming compact with Florida. The compact granted the Tribe exclusive rights to Florida online sports betting market.
According to the new compact, all online bets would occur on tribal lands as the server processing wagers are located on them. Thus, it doesn’t matter where the players are when betting on sports.
US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the new online sports wagering compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Friedrich said the compact authorized wagering by people within the state but not on Tribal lands. Thus, it violated IGRA’s requirement that all gaming activities be on Tribal lands.
Florida Online Sports Betting
Judge Friedrich characterized the provision as a “fiction” created to evade IGRA’s requirement that all gambling activity be “authorized” by a compact to take place on Tribal grounds. In addition, the compact deemed all sports gambling, including those made online, would occur on tribal grounds where the server processing the bet is located.
“When a federal statute allows betting at specific places, parties may not dodge that limitation by ‘deeming’ their activity to happen where it, as a factual matter, does not,” Judge Friedrich explained in her decision on November 22. According to sports betting software sources, Judge Friedrich concluded that the compact allows betting off Tribal grounds in violation of IGRA. In addition, the Secretary of the Interior should have rejected the compact because it will enable players to bet within Florida, including at locations that are not tribal grounds.
The Seminole Tribe and the Department of the Interior are now, nearly a year later, following the New Jersey strategy. According to sportsbook pay per head experts, both parties now assert in appellate briefs submitted to the DC Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals that the compact in no way “authorized” online sports betting. Instead, they insist that the compact permitted in-person wagering on tribal grounds and that Florida law was the sole authority for the online sports handicapping component.