The Seminole Tribe of Florida has reportedly announced that it will be appealing this week’s federal court decision that barred it from running online sportsbetting in Florida under the terms of a 30-year gaming compact approved in May.
According to a report from the Miami Herald newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe yesterday lodged an official notice of appeal and a ‘motion for stay pending appeal’ only a day after Judge Dabney Friedrich from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the new mobile-friendly service violated the tenets of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and should be immediately wound up.
Although the online sportsbetting service from the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been live for less than a month, a 22-page motion from the tribe reportedly asserted that it will be appealing the decision as instantly shutting down the new enterprise would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to its economic interests and sovereignty ‘if a stay is not issued pending resolution of the serious legal issues posed on the tribe’s appeal.’ The newspaper detailed that the remote sportsbook is continuing to take wagers while this petition is being processed with Judge Friedrich now expected to make a definitive ruling on the desired temporary reprieve before the weekend.
Marcellus Osceola (pictured) serves as Chairman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida and he reportedly declared that his tribe had already made a pair of $37.5 million revenue-sharing payments to the state under the terms of the fresh gaming compact and ‘hired scores of employees and purchased equipment in preparation to formally launch craps and roulette this month’. The leader purportedly stated that his nation had furthermore spent more than $25 million to develop the wagering service while hiring in excess of 237 additional employees and would lose millions of dollars in income and ‘be irreparably injured if required to cease online sportsbetting pending the outcome of an appeal.’
Reportedly read a statement from Osceola…
“The tribe’s online sportsbetting authorized by the compact is now in operation and is generating millions in revenues per week. The tribe is using these funds to pay back the development costs for its online sportsbook, make revenue-sharing payments to the state and fund important tribal programs.”
The original late-Monday ruling from Judge Friedrich, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017, reportedly came after the operator of Miami’s Magic City Casino, West Flagler Associates Limited, filed a lawsuit against United States Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The plaintiff purportedly successfully argued that the gaming compact giving the Seminole Tribe of Florida the right to debut an online sportsbetting service for aficionados in ‘The Sunshine State’ should never have been approved as it violated a number federal laws and would discriminate against its own operation to the tune of millions of dollars.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is reportedly responsible for six casinos across southern Florida including the 37-acre Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa as well as the even larger Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood with its guitar-shaped hotel. However, the tribe purportedly stopped making revenue-sharing payments to the state in 2019 following the expiration of its earlier gaming compact and the newest deal was to also have given it an inaugural statewide monopoly on the operation of craps and roulette alongside permission to build and run up to three more Las Vegas-style developments.