DOJ steps in to support Compact


It will be before the summer at the earliest Sports betting in Florida The contract overturned by a federal judge gets another day in court, but reading the tea leaves gives an idea of ​​how the case will be presented.

That’s the testimony of a key observer of the ongoing saga that pits the Seminole tribe of Florida, the state of Florida and the federal government against the Sunshine State’s casino operators starving for a slice of the multi-billion dollar gamble sports betting Industry.

Daniel Wallach, an attorney who specializes in Florida law and gambling-related matters, said the latest tea leaves — an appeal notice from the Interior Department and a supplemental memorandum from the Justice Department — mean the case has “a chance.”

Wallach who spoke with me for almost an hour gaming today On Thursday, however, he was quick to add, “Not a good one.”

The latest in sports betting in Florida

The Justice Department announced this week that it would open the appeal. The DOJ is getting involved because one of its primary roles is to serve as the government’s advocate, Wallach said. The Home Office, a separate body, approved the contract in August. This agreement is at the heart of the debate.

In its previously filed supplemental memorandum, the DOJ argued that the covenant only applies to in-person sports betting at casino properties and that Florida law permits online bets to be placed through the servers.

This is key because in the case West Flagler Associates et al. against Deb Haaland et al, US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the stance that betting takes place on tribal lands just because that’s where the servers processing the bets are located is “fiction.” The location of the people making the bets matters, according to Friedrich’s decision.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act dictates how tribes can operate gambling businesses. It is clear that all gambling must take place “on Indian land” in order to be eligible for IGRA. Home Secretary Deb Haaland approved the pact earlier this year. Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo, the first Native American to serve as Cabinet Secretary.

In its Wednesday statement, the DOJ argued that the pact only applies to face-to-face sports betting at casinos and that Florida law allows online bets to be placed through the servers.

“The DOJ has dropped the server argument, and the DOJ has recognized that bettor location is important,” Wallach said.

Because the DOI and the Seminole Tribe did not use that argument in their briefs when the case was originally heard, Wallach explained, they cannot change course now. But since the DOJ steps in as a party, it can.

Wallach expected it to be in the spring of 2022 before the various briefs and filings were presented.

“We won’t hear oral hearings until the summer at the earliest,” he said.

The Florida referendum still has a chance

Wallach said the issues could be resolved “tomorrow” if the state really wants to address them, but acknowledged that was unlikely.

Florida lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis could seek to rewrite the compact to address Friedrich’s concerns, which would negate the need for a trial. They could direct their efforts towards similar gaming compacts that have been agreed upon Connecticut and Arizona, he said.

Additionally, Wallach believes the referendum to put the question to Florida voters in the fall still has a chance.

Florida education champion, the group behind the referendum campaign that, if approved, would bring sports betting to the state regardless of the Seminole tribe, has until February 1 to notarize 891,589 signatures. At the time of this January 21 publication, there were 401,958 signatures, according to the Florida Division of Elections Website.

Observers have speculated the effort falters with less than two weeks before the deadline. Last weekend DraftKings announced it would be offering $100 to Florida users if the initiative made it to a vote.

Wallach warned that only supporters know how many signatures they have.

“I don’t know if they’re fighting. I have no idea how many signatures they have in a box in an office building right now just waiting to be counted,” he said.

“They’re still trying, and the numbers keep going up. That means it’s within the realm of possibility.”


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