Seminoles Suspend Sports Betting After Court Rulings – CBS Miami

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Gambling on sports activities is off the desk in Florida, no less than for now, after the Seminole Tribe suspended its on-line sports-betting operations Saturday morning.

The tribe stopped accepting wagers on its Hard Rock SportsGuide cellular app after an appeals courtroom on Friday refused to placed on maintain a choose’s ruling that mentioned a deal giving the tribe management over sports activities betting all through the state violates federal legislation.

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The Seminoles “will temporarily suspend operations of its mobile app in Florida” attributable to Friday’s choice by a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, tribal spokesman Gary Bitner mentioned in an electronic mail Saturday.

“Account balances for all current players will be refunded as requested,” Bitner mentioned.

Bettors making an attempt to make use of the Hard Rock app Saturday morning acquired a message saying the web sportsbook was discontinued till additional discover.

“Although we are temporarily suspending the acceptance of new bets and account deposits, we remain committed to building the best place for sports betting in Florida,” the message mentioned.

The app additionally mentioned “all active bets for events starting before 11 a.m. ET on Dec. 4 will run and settle based on event outcome per normal.” All bets for occasions beginning after 11 a.m. Saturday “will be voided and initial bet amounts returned to your app wallet,” it mentioned.

“Your funds are safe & secure. The app will remain active for easy withdrawals,” the message mentioned, advising customers to test social media for updates.

Sports betting was included in a 30-year deal, generally known as a compact, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola, Jr. this spring and approved by the Legislature in a May particular session.

The “hub-and-spoke” sports-betting plan within the compact was designed to permit gamblers all through the state to position bets on-line, with the bets run by way of computer servers on tribal property. The compact says bets made wherever in Florida “using a mobile app or other electronic device, shall be deemed to be exclusively conducted by the tribe.” Under the compact, the tribe pledged to pay no less than $2.5 billion over the primary 5 years to the state due to sports activities betting and different advantages, reminiscent of having the ability to supply craps and roulette at tribal casinos. The Seminoles have paid the state $75 million since October, based on courtroom information.

Owners of Magic City Casino in Miami-Dade County and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida challenged the compact in federal courts in Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee, alleging the sports-betting provision violates federal legislation and would have a “significant and potentially devastating” impression on their companies. The Havenick household has owned the pari-mutuels for many years.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich on Nov. 22 invalidated the compact within the Washington case, discovering that U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose company oversees tribal playing, erred when she allowed the compact to enter impact this summer season.

Friedrich dominated that the deal violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, which creates a framework for playing exercise on tribal lands. The ruling centered on gamblers having the ability to place wagers all through the state, fairly than strictly on the Seminoles’ property.

“Altogether, over a dozen provisions in IGRA regulate gaming on ‘Indian lands,’ and none regulate gaming in another location,” she wrote. “It is equally clear that the (Interior Department) secretary must reject compacts that violate IGRA’s terms.”

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Although the compact deems sports activities betting to happen on the location of the tribe’s servers, “this court cannot accept that fiction,” Friedrich wrote. The choose additionally rejected the Seminoles’ requests to intervene within the lawsuit, which was filed in opposition to Haaland and the Department of the Interior, and have it dismissed.

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The tribe, which till Saturday had continued to permit sports activities bettors in Florida to position wagers on its cellular app after Friedrich’s ruling, filed an emergency movement final week asking the District of Columbia appellate courtroom to remain Friedrich’s ruling.

But after a flurry of courtroom filings this week, a panel of the courtroom denied the Seminoles’ try and put Friedrich’s ruling on maintain till their attraction is resolved.

“Appellant has not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending appeal,” the order by Judges Cornelia T.L. Pillard and Justin R. Walker mentioned. The order mentioned Judge Judith W. Rogers would have granted a keep.

The appellate judges didn’t elaborate on their causes, as is frequent in such choices.

Saturday’s assertion on behalf of the Seminoles mentioned the tribe “looks forward to working with the state of Florida and the U.S. Department of the Justice to aggressively defend the validity before the appeals court, which has yet to rule on the merits of the 2021 compact.”

The assertion famous that the state, the federal authorities and the tribe “have all taken the position” that the compact is authorized.

U.S. Department of Justice legal professionals mentioned in a courtroom doc this week the federal government didn’t oppose the tribe’s emergency movement for a keep and that it had not determined whether or not to attraction Friedrich’s ruling.

As the tribe pursues an attraction of Friedrich’s ruling, the pari-mutuel homeowners are interesting a call by U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor, who dismissed the Florida-based lawsuit difficult the compact.

Winsor in October mentioned the pari-mutuels didn’t have authorized standing to sue DeSantis and state Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Julie Brown over the playing settlement. The pari-mutuels final week filed a discover that they have been taking the case to the Atlanta-based eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Friedrich additionally discovered that the compact violated a 2018 constitutional modification that requires statewide voter approval for expansions of playing, together with sports activities betting.

But the choose famous that her choice “does not foreclose other avenues for authorizing online sports betting in Florida.”

For instance, she wrote, the state may negotiate a brand new compact with the tribe “that allows online gaming solely on Indian lands.”

Friedrich additionally urged that Floridians may approve a residents’ initiative to permit on-line sports activities betting, an effort already underway that might get a lift from her ruling.

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(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s Dara Kam contributed to this report.)

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