No Casinos group urges lawmakers to reject Seminole Tribe sports betting plan

October 18, 2023
By

The group believes the current compact on the books is unconstitutional.

Florida group No Casinos has gained approval by the state court to file a “friend-of-the-court” brief in support of a recent lawsuit involving West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation and their effort to stop legal sports betting, according to a CBS News Miami local report.

Both companies recently submitted a petition to the Florida court to stop the Seminole Tribe from “implementing online sports betting” as part of its compact with the state.

These two groups sued state Governor Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, claiming that DeSantis “exceeded his authority by agreeing to the compact” and that it “violates a 2018 constitutional amendment approved by voters.”

During 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis, along with lawmakers, approved a compact with the Seminole Tribe that permits the Tribe to accept sports bets from mobile devices statewide through servers operated on Tribal land. The compact stated that wagers using mobile apps or electronic devices, “shall be deemed to be exclusively conducted by the tribe,” the local report said.

However, No Casinos has pushed back against the current compact, claiming the sports betting plan “was designed to get around the 2018 constitutional amendment, which required voter authorization of casino gambling.”

No Casinos laid out its position in a brief filed in court and stated, "Allowing mobile sports betting throughout the state, based on a legal fiction that tribal servers render the entire state to be Indian land for mobile gambling purposes, undermines this state's public policy, as expressed in (the constitutional amendment) to disallow such gambling in Florida absent approval by citizen initiative," the brief said.

"This court should act to preclude the unconstitutional compact and its implementing statutes from taking effect. Until and unless the voters authorize statewide sports betting, this court has the discretionary power and, we think, the duty to invalidate the respondents' (DeSantis and legislative leaders) actions in approving the sports betting provisions of the compact and in passing implementing statutes."

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