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Monday, May 20, 2024

Federal Judge’s Ruling Prohibits Sports Betting in Florida

Seminole Hard Rock/USA TODAY NETWORK/Design: Alex Brooks

Florida has ceased all sports betting and gaming after Monday’s ruling by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich rejected a compact between the Florida government and Seminole Tribe that only allowed sports betting on Seminole lands.

The 30-year compact was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved by the Florida Legislature earlier this year — the Seminole Tribe agreed to pay at least $2.5 billion to the state over the first five years as part of the deal, which also allowed the tribe to add roulette and craps to its casinos.

Despite multiple efforts from other companies to block it — DraftKings and FanDuel raised $20 million — the compact went through, but it has only been live for the past three weeks.

  • Judge Friedrich concluded that the compact violates the federal Indian Gaming Act that requires state-sanctioned gambling to occur on tribal land.
  • Instead of making sure all sports betting physically took place on tribal land, the Seminole Tribe reportedly considered bets going through servers on tribal property as good enough. “This Court cannot accept that fiction,” Friedrich said.

With the Secretary’s approval, the Tribe and state can agree to a new compact. Friedrich also said, “Florida citizens may authorize such betting across their State through a citizens’ initiative.”

The ruling is expected to be appealed.

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