A pair of prominent gambling critics in Florida are reportedly serving as primary backers for a new federal lawsuit that is aiming to stop the southern state from becoming that latest to launch some form of online sportsbetting.
According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, the legal action filed yesterday in the District of Columbia is being supported by local auto retailer Norman Braman and property development magnate Armando Codina (pictured). The source detailed that this legal endeavor is seeking to have the new 30-year gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida invalidated so as to prevent the federally-recognized tribe from premiering an online sportsbook from as early as November 15.
The newspaper reported that the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in June so as to give the group permission to offer online sportsbetting on an exclusive basis statewide. This agreement purportedly got around a public referendum requirement for any such move by compelling the influential tribe to locate any associated computer servers on its own lands.
However, the legal action being fronted by Braman and Codina is reportedly arguing that DeSantis and the state violated federal Indian gaming laws and the provisions of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 ‘by authorizing gambling outside of Indian lands and by allowing the use of the Internet or interstate payment transmissions where sportsbetting is illegal.’ The lawsuit purportedly names United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland as a defendant and also contends that this 60-year-old figure ‘improperly allowed the state of Florida to circumvent’ its own constitution by giving the Seminole Tribe of Florida permission to launch online sports wagering services.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that millionaires Braman and Codina are both prominent Republicans with their lawsuit additionally asserting that the sportsbetting provision contained within the contentious gaming compact contravenes the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because it seeks to ‘enrich non-tribal’ enterprises rather than ‘protect the sovereign rights and interests of Native American tribes and peoples.’
The newspaper reported that Braman and Codina have a long track record of opposing gambling in Florida and are known to be particularly upset that the gaming compact contains an 18-mile boundary provision that could pave the way for the appearance of commercial casinos in cities such as Miami Beach, Doral and Jacksonville. This stipulation would moreover purportedly allow the Seminole Tribe of Florida to transform its Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood venues into full Las Vegas-style developments complete with an inaugural statewide monopoly on roulette and craps.
Codina reportedly told the Tampa Bay Times…
“The compact clearly telegraphs their intent for casinos in Miami Beach and Doral by getting the Seminole Tribe of Florida to waive its right to object beyond the 18-mile boundary stated on the bill. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this movie is ending and we don’t want to wait to see the white of their eyes.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the owner of Miami’s Magic City Casino, West Flagler Associates Limited, joined with Bonita Springs Poker Room proprietor Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation to file a similar lawsuit in July over concerns that the new gaming compact would hurt their businesses by allowing punters to gamble from the comfort of their own homes. Despite both of these actions, the Seminole Tribe of Florida purportedly asserted that it is looking forward to launching online sportsbetting later this year and has already begun ‘hiring and training hundreds of new team members.’
Reportedly read a statement from the Seminole Tribe of Florida…
“The new gaming compact was negotiated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Governor of Florida as spelled out in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Florida legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new gaming compact, which was then approved by the United States Department of the Interior and has the support of two-thirds of Floridians. It is law.”