Published: November 8, 2023

Halt sought to Seminole Tribe's online sports betting

After the Seminole Tribe relaunched a Sports-Betting App, attorneys for two pari-mutuel companies Tuesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to halt the online wagering as a legal battle continues to play out.

The attorneys for West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. filed a motion at the Supreme Court hours after the tribe quietly began allowing some gamblers to place wagers on the sports-betting app anywhere in Florida.

The pari-mutuel companies filed a petition in September at the Supreme Court challenging part of a gambling deal between the state and the tribe that would allow online sports betting. The companies contend that the sports-betting part of the deal violates a 2018 constitutional amendment requiring voter approval of casino gambling.

With the case pending, attorneys for the pari-mutuel companies Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to "immediately suspend the sports betting provisions" of a law that carried out the gambling deal.

"This exigency has been created by the launch of the Seminole Tribe's mobile betting application on November 7, 2023, without prior warning," the attorneys wrote in a 15-page motion.

The motion said the Supreme Court likely will not rule on the underlying challenge to the gambling deal until sometime next year.

"In the meantime, absent an expedited ruling on petitioners' ... request, the tribe will apparently continue with its off-reservation sports betting operations in contravention of the Florida Constitution ... potentially raking in millions of dollars in sports bets that this court may eventually find were authorized in contravention of the Florida Constitution and derogation of the people's right to decide on the expansion of casino gambling," the companies' attorneys wrote.

The motion was the latest move in two years of legal wrangling about the gambling deal, which Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. signed in 2021. The deal, known as a compact, also allowed the Seminoles To Add Craps And Roulette to their Florida casinos and add three casinos on tribal property in Broward County.


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