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Seminole Tribe gains key support on sports betting

The Seminole Tribe has picked up support for the reinstatement of a gambling compact that would allow sports betting in Florida. (Image via Facebook)

Four prominent Native American organizations have recently lent their support to the Seminole Tribe as it continues to push for its online sports betting venture in Florida.

The National Indian Gaming Association, United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund, the Arizona Indiana Gaming Association and the California Indian Gaming Association filed amicus briefs in late August supporting the tribe’s appeal to the U.S. District Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit – to reinstate a 2021 gambling compact. Amicus briefs allow entities that have a stake in litigation to provide information to the court on particular issues they believe are important to a case.

The 2021 compact brought sports betting to Florida for the month of November before a federal judge voided it. It also allowed the tribe to offer craps and roulette in its Florida casinos.

The U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Florida have previously called for reinstatement of the compact.

Federal Judge Dabney L. Friedrich voided the compact, which had been ratified by the Florida Legislature, when two pari-mutuel outlets successfully argued that granting the tribe the right to offer gambling off tribal lands was beyond the scope of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

The Department of Interior, after green lighting the compact, asserted that tribes should be given leeway in exploiting new gambling opportunities and that the 1988 IGRA law could not have foreseen the use of online and mobile wagering.

The four Native groups said in their briefs that Friedrich’s decision “threatens to exclude Native American operators from an exploding national sports betting economy,” according to a report in

The tribe itself has asserted that not all elements of a particular gambling activity must be confined to tribal land to comply with IGRA. Under a so-called hub-and-spoke sports betting model the tribe employed last November, the servers facilitating statewide mobile bets were housed on tribal property in South Florida.

According to the report, the state of Florida also contends it “has a substantial interest in reinstating the compact, either in whole or in part,” because it would produce revenue of approximately $2.5 billion for the state in the first five years and create thousands of jobs for Floridians.

Because the compact was vacated, tribal gaming in Florida reverted to the terms of a 2010 deal with the state, and the tribe stopped making installments on $500 million in yearly revenue sharing.

“The gaming industry in the United States is moving inexorably online, particularly with respect to sports betting. The District Court’s interpretation of IGRA effectively erects a wall around tribal lands and prevents tribes from keeping pace with online advancements in the gaming industry,” the tribe said in a portion of its brief, according to

The tribe’s brief also states that the inclusion of online sports betting in the 2021 compact was “clearly authorized by IGRA’s jurisdiction allocation provisions.”

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