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Judge Critical of Government in Florida Sports Betting Case

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Nov/05/2021

Attorneys representing the state of Florida and Seminole Tribe have until Tuesday to buttress their written arguments in opposition to the plaintiffs in two gambling cases. Deb Haaland and the Depart of Interior are listed as the defendant in one of the cases.

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”It’s hard to think that the government’s whole litigation strategy seems to be to delay this court from ruling,” Judge Dabney Friedrich said during a Friday hearing.

“I’m confounded by the government’s position,” Friedrich said. “I don't understand how the government could come into this hearing thinking this is just a hearing on the government’s motion to dismiss. This makes no sense to me."

Attorneys representing West Flagler Associates, which owns Magic City Casino in Miami and Bonita Springs Poker Room, claim that the Seminoles offering of sports wagering represents an expansion of gambling in the Sunshine State.  Under Florida law, voters must approve any new casino entry or form of gambling. 

The Seminoles claim that the mobile sports wagering they quietly launched on Monday is not a form of expansion as all bets are taken on servers housed on Tribal land.  The US Government has previously ruled against an offshore operator, World Sports Exchange and Jay Cohen, who argued all bets originating from US customers were being placed on a server in Antigua.  Cohen served nearly two years in prison.

Under the current compact, the Seminoles operate a near gambling monopoly in the state.  An effort by DraftKings and FanDuel to enter the market through a new voter referendum has gotten little traction.  To date, the two companies have obtained only 7.48% of the signatures required to get the item onto the ballot.  Their restrictive proposal requires that any provider must be licensed in at least ten other US states for at least one year.  DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the only companies that can meet this criteria.

The Seminoles have pounded the local airwaves with ads warning residents not to sign any petitions from "out-of-state gambling interests". 

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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