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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Judge denies suspension of Seminole Tribe in game expansion

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) – A federal district judge rejected a suspension requested by Florida’s Seminole tribe Wednesday night after an earlier ruling blocked the tribe’s agreement with the state to expand gambling and online sports betting across the state.

Attorneys for the Seminoles argued that the tribe would lose significant revenue from online sports betting, and said some of the money would be used to fund the tribe’s programs. But US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich rejected the request, saying the tribe had not shown that it would be irreparably harmed if a stay was not granted.

However the Solar Sentinel reported Thursday that the Hard Rock Sportsbook app was still up and running and accepting bets. The app started accepting bets on November 1.

in a I miss Monday night, United States District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich found that the multi-million dollar state-tribe agreement allowing online gambling violated a federal rule that requires a person to be physically on tribal land when gambling. The lawsuit, filed by non-Indian casino owners in Florida, challenged approval of the deal by the US Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations.

The state and the tribe had argued that because the computer servers that process the bets would be on tribal lands, bettors could bet from their phones or kiosks at non-indigenous racetracks and casinos anywhere in the state and meet the standard. federal.

But Judge Friedrich called that “fiction” in her previous ruling.

The agreement made Florida, for a time, the last state to legalize sports gambling since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling. It lifted the federal ban on sports gambling outside of Nevada and some other states. Today, about half of the states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting in some form.

The judge, who was appointed to the District of Columbia Circuit Court in 2017 by former President Donald Trump, also noted that a 2018 state constitutional amendment passed by an overwhelming majority of voters requires any expansion of the game outside of tribal lands. is approved by the voters.

The judge’s decision also prevents the tribe from adding roulette and dice to its Florida casinos, which may have allowed non-Indian casinos to do the same.

The Republican Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis had drawn up the pact with the tribe earlier this year and the GOP-controlled legislature approved it shortly after, and the state could receive $ 20 billion over the next 30 years.

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