State of Sports Betting In The Air As Federal Judges Settle Pari-Mutuel Dispute in Florida

The Florida heat prevails through this Fall season as deliberations over legal sports betting continue in Washington D.C. Sportsbooks operated by the Seminole Tribe were authorized to launch as early as October 18th.

However, a lawsuit filed by the state’s Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino may stand in the way of such a gambling expansion.

Pari-Mutuels Challenge Gaming Compact

The above pari-mutuel gaming facilities, both owned and operated by the Havenick family, argue that Florida’s online betting measures effectively violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Representatives for the Havenick family insist that their businesses will not only be hurt but that the Seminole Gaming Compact allows for betting off of native lands.

The Gaming Compact allows for mobile sports betting under the condition that all bets are placed via servers located on Seminole land. But the Havenick-owned pari-mutuels argue that the loophole is not enough to justify state-wide betting.

Because Florida restricts most forms of gambling to Native American land, the lawsuit is expected to become a landmark trial. The results of this case may affect sports betting legislation in other states as well.

Arguments Off To A Rocky Start

Litigation officially began last Friday, when U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich conducted the case’s first hearing. Friedrich seemed largely unimpressed by the position of Defendant, citing that legal representatives were unable to answer basic questions.

At one point, the judge said the following:

“I find it extremely hard to believe that the government doesn’t even know what its position is. … It seems like you should be able to answer a simple question… Does the federal government interpret online betting as occurring solely on Indian land? Just yes or no, you can’t answer that?”

Although the comment was harsh, it was well-warranted. Defendants were unable to carve out a defined stance on the matter of mobile sports betting, the key issue being addressed.

Despite the behavior demonstrated in the courtroom, the defendants were granted an extension to supply additional briefings.

This week, the Department of Interior rose to the occasion and delivered a 33-page document detailing exactly how and why the Seminole Gaming Compact should be upheld.

A judgment on the case is not expected until November 15th. Right now, Florida bettors have access to mobile betting through the Hard Rock Sportsbook app.

Should You Bet in Florida?

But given the volatility of sports betting in Florida, it may not be a good idea to start shelling out your cash to this site just yet.

Even so, Florida bettors can get in on the action via offshore betting sites. These platforms have been up and running for decades, providing users with safe and secure ways to bet.

But seriously, if you have money tied up with Hard Rock, it may be wise to get it out. No one can predict what will happen if Judge Friedrich rules against mobile betting.

And given the fact that Hard Rock Sportsbook in Florida went live without any prior promotion, it can die out just as swiftly.

Source: Sun-Sentinel