An anti-gaming expansion group has told the Florida Supreme Court that the compact allowing online Florida sports betting agreed to by state leaders and the Seminole Tribe “violates the text, spirit, and public policy” of the state’s constitution.
No Casinos filed an amicus brief with the state’s top court on Monday evening urging the justices to strike down the 2021 agreement reached by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole leaders as well as the codifying law passed by the state legislature. The group, along with the tribe and the Walt Disney Company, pushed for an amendment to the Florida Constitution that voters ratified five years ago to require a statewide referendum on any proposal to expand casino gaming off tribal lands.
“Respondents’ willingness to overlook and attempt to contract and then legislate around that power, via a legal fiction that sports betting authorized by the Compact is deemed to take place on Tribal land (wink, wink) should not be countenanced,” the brief states.
Brief Filed On Deadline
Monday was the final day for No Casinos to file its brief with the court, which gave the group a 10-day extension on Oct. 6. No Casinos is not a plaintiff in the case filed last month by West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. against DeSantis and legislative leaders. Attorneys for the state urged the court not to give an extension, but they may now seek one for their response, which is due Nov. 1.
West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers filed the state lawsuit after a federal appeals court overturned a U.S. district court decision that struck down the compact. The three-judge panel said that some of the issues brought up in the case should be reviewed by a state court. In addition to the state case, the plaintiffs plan to appeal their federal case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Seminole Tribe Does Not Plan To Respond To U.S. Supreme Court Case
Speaking of the federal case, the Seminole Tribe filed a letter with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday. While the tribe is listed as a respondent in the case, it is not officially a party in it. West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for allowing the compact to take effect. The department must review all tribal gaming compacts to ensure they comply with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Seminole leaders have tried to intervene in the federal case at both the district and circuit court levels but to no avail. Last week, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay that keeps the appeals court’s decision from taking effect. Roberts also called on the federal government to respond to the request for a stay by Wednesday.
“The Tribe does not intend to file a response to the stay application,” the letter reads. “However, the Tribe would gladly file a response should the Court desire one from the Tribe.”
Stay tuned for more sports betting updates and read up on all of the best Florida sportsbook apps that could make their way to the Sunshine State as soon as sports betting is legalized.