Tue, 30 Nov 2021

Federal judge prohibits sports wagering in Florida

Field Level Media
24 Nov 2021, 06:19 GMT+10

A sports betting law that was enacted earlier this year in Florida was struck down in federal district court, halting wagering on games in the state.

In a decision that was handed down late Monday, Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that Florida's deal to give exclusive sports betting rights to the Seminole Tribe, essentially forming a monopoly on the industry in the state, was ruled to violate federal Indian gaming law.

Since Nov. 1, Florida residents had been allowed to make wagers on a betting app run by the Seminole Tribe. While the server for the betting app was on tribal lands, bettors had been able to place wagers anywhere in the state.

"When a federal statute authorizes an activity only at specific locations, parties may not evade that limitation by 'deeming' their activity to occur where it, as a factual matter, does not," Friedrich wrote in her judgement.

In 2019, Florida voters decided against sports betting in the state. The Seminole Tribe then forged ahead with its own deal through the state legislature in a pact that was approved by the state's department of the interior.

"We'll support whatever we can do to validate the compact," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday. "We anticipated this could happen."

The terms of the deal required the Seminole Tribe to pay $2.5 billion to the state of Florida over a five-year span to be an exclusive sports wagering operator. The deal also allowed the tribe to add craps and roulette to casino operations, but those activities have been halted as well.

Sports wagering giants like FanDuel and DraftKings currently are working toward getting voter approval in Florida for mobile sports betting operations in the future.

--Field Level Media

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