Federal judge bans sports betting in Florida
A sports betting law enacted earlier this year in Florida has been struck down in federal district court, halting gaming betting in the state.
In a decision issued late Monday, Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that Florida’s deal to grant exclusive sports betting rights to the Seminole tribe, which constitutes an industry monopoly in the state, was doomed to violate the federal Indian gambling law.
Since November 1, Florida residents have been allowed to bet on a betting app operated by the Seminole tribe. While the betting application server was on tribal lands, bookmakers were able to place bets anywhere in the state.
In her judgment, Friedrich wrote: “When a federal law authorizes an activity in specific locations only, parties may not evade this restriction by ‘considering’ their activity to take place where it does not, as a matter of fact.”
In 2019, Florida voters decided not to bet on sports in the state. The Seminoles then proceeded with their own bargain through the state legislature in an agreement approved by the state Department of the Interior.
“We will support everything we can do to validate the agreement,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday. “We expected this to happen.”
The terms of the deal required Seminole Tribe to pay $2.5 billion to the state of Florida over five years to be the exclusive sports betting operator. The deal also allowed the tribe to add craps and roulette to its casino operations, but these activities were also discontinued.
Sports betting giants such as FanDuel and DraftKings are currently working on getting Florida voter approval for future mobile sports betting operations.
–Field Media Level