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Seminole Tribe Denied Emergency Stay To Continue Florida Sports Betting

Michael Kates for Bookies.com

Michael Kates  | 2 mins

Seminole Tribe Denied Emergency Stay To Continue Florida Sports Betting

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A federal appeals court on Friday denied the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s request to stay a lower court’s ruling that had invalidated the Tribe’s new gambling compact with the state. That compact had legalized both in-person and online Florida sports betting but immediately drew legal challenges because of its controversial “hub and spoke” system.

The system allows the Tribe to accept mobile wagers from anywhere in the state on its Hard Rock betting app using servers on Indian lands, as well as operate sportsbooks on tribal land. It was without precedent, and the 30-year compact was shot down by U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich in a 25-page ruling in late November. Judge Friedrich also denied a subsequent stay request of her ruling on the night before Thanksgiving.

The judge ruled the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Her ruling stated that all sports betting in the state needed to halt until a new compact was agreed upon, one that did not contain the online betting component, or until voters in Florida approved legal online sports betting via a ballot referendum.

The ruling Friday was 2-1 against the Seminole Tribe, writing in the decision: "Appellant has not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending appeal."

Hard Rock App Still Taking Bets

The Hard Rock app, which launched with little publicity on Nov. 1 despite a host of legal challenges, has continued to take bets in seeming defiance of Judge Friedrich’s ruling. What remains to be seen is if this denial of the Seminole Tribe’s stay request will prompt it to halt operations or if a court order will be required.

Friday’s ruling comes amid reports that the Seminole Tribe had been paying people to not collect signatures for a new ballot initiative. That measure, which is supported financially by DraftKings and FanDuel to the tune of more than $30 million, is way behind in its quest for the 891,589 signatures needed before the Feb. 1 deadline to get it on the November 2022 ballot.

Florida voters passed Amendment 3 in 2018, which banned the expansion of gambling in Florida off Indians lands without the approval of 60% of Florida voters via a referendum question that was generated by citizen’s initiative and not the legislature.

About the Author

Michael Kates for Bookies.com
Michael Kates
Michael Kates is Managing Editor at Bookies.com. Previously, Mike was the Managing Editor at FanRag Sports and Associate Sports Editor at the Chicago Tribune.