The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on October 25 declined an urgent bid to officially block a compact worth multi billion dollars between the Seminole Tribe and Florida to provide online sports wagering across the state.
Sports wagering may soon be available in Florida:
The aforementioned court order makes it very possible that sports wagering could soon be legal in Florida, even though other awaiting legal challenges remaining in state courts could greatly affect the exact date. Additionally, the compact, aka agreement, was advocated by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, validated by the US Department of the Interior and is expected to deliver $2.5 billion in new income during the period of the next 5 years and a calculated $6 billion during 2030.
Furthermore, Justice Brett Kavanaugh officially wrote individually to the state to say that he “respected the court’s action, but questioned whether the deal could raise separate questions under state law.” Additionally, he clarified that “concerns under state law were not squarely presented in the current application brought by other gambling companies.”
However, the short order by the court could encourage other US tribes and states to go after similar compacts, according to CNN.
Five years ago, during 2018, Florida voters validated a referendum that altered the Florida Constitution to make sure that each type of casino gambling would just be permitted in the state via a special referendum, which means taking the reigns in their own hands to validate such activity away from the Florida legislature. However, said 2018 referendum particularly made gambling and other games of chance negotiated via a compact between state and the tribes, as long as said compact was officially validated by the federal government.
Then, during 2021, the Seminole Tribe of Florida signed a deal with the state in accordance with the the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that allowed the tribe to provide statewide online sports wagering. However, the condition was that the servers used to accept the wagers should be located in the tribal land.
Also, during the following month, DeSantis signed into law a validation bill validating the compact between the above parties. As for the Department of Interior, it didn’t block the compact, which legally meant the same as giving its validation. However, the rest of the wagering facilities submitted a charge, asserting that the said compact was non-legal in accordance to IGRA, as that law permitted wagering only on tribal grounds. In this regard, they also filed a suit against the aforementioned Interior Department, asserting that the agreement shouldn’t have been validated at all.
Relatedly, a District Court officially agreed to block the deal. However, it was overturned by a Federal Appeal Court headquartered in Washington, DC. On that note, The Court of Appeal said: “The secretary of Interior hadn’t overstepped her authority in allowing the agreement.”