Supreme Court to hear Florida Tribal sports gambling case

September 19, 2023
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The case involves owners of two Florida pari-mutuels who claim a previous ruling conflicts with previous decisions.

A case between owners of two Florida pari-mutuels has advanced to the Supreme Court, according to a local report in the Orlando Sentinel. The Supreme Court will decide whether an agreement that would give the Seminole Tribe control of sports betting throughout Florida is a violation of federal law.

An appeals court in Washington DC refused to reconsider a previous on the multibillion-dollar deal. The court ruled in favor of the Tribe, stating that its 2021 agreement did not violate the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The decision was made by a three-judge panel during the summer, reversing a federal judge’s ruling from November 2021. The federal judge had halted a 30-year gambling agreement signed by Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The agreement was approved by the state legislature.

Owners of Miami-Dade County’s Magic City Casino and Southwest Florida’s Bonita Springs Poker Room filed a recent motion, claiming that the ruling “conflicts with other appellate rulings and enables an extreme shift in public policy on legalized gaming that, once started, may be difficult to stop.”

The Seminole Tribe of Florida currently owns and operates the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The tribe acquired the Hard Rock brand in 2007. Since Hard Rock’s founding, the brand has globally expanded to include more than 250 locations.

The governing Tribal Council recently voted to temporarily expel three members after the trio accused tribal leaders of corruption in the media. The three members were prohibited from entering any tribal school or government buildings for a period of 60 days.

Leaders decided to take action against the trio due to allegations the tribe claims are false. The group said such claims could potentially “jeopardize the tribe's gaming licenses.”

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