Florida is home to three National Football League (NFL) teams, as well as two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Orlando Magic. However, sports betting isn’t legal in the state. This has led to a long-running legal battle that’s unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. It also means that online sports betting is likely to remain out of the Sunshine State for years to come.
Sports betting in Florida is regulated by a compact with the Seminole Indian Tribe. But the compact was challenged by local groups who said the move violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The tribe is appealing the decision. Meanwhile, the federal government has filed a brief in support of its position. In 2021, the compact would have allowed statewide mobile sports betting in the state.
However, the compact was vacated by a federal court in August 2021. At the same time, the Seminole Tribe was appealing the ruling. While both sides presented their arguments before three judges, the case is moving slowly. Until it’s resolved, it’s unlikely that FL sports betting will return to the state in 2022.
Legal experts argue that a federal compact limiting mobile sports betting to tribal lands is a violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The federal government argues that it has adequate representation for the tribe’s interests.
The Seminole Tribe has appealed the federal court’s decision and is seeking to re-enter the compact. The Department of Interior and the Seminole Indians have filed briefs in the appeal. Currently, the dispute is going before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. On December 14, 2022, the parties will present their arguments again. If the case is decided in the Tribe’s favor, it would allow the tribe to offer online sports betting services to Florida customers.
For now, the only legal option for Florida sports betting is for the state to create a new compact that would allow for statewide mobile sports betting. That’s a gamble that’s likely to end in failure. There’s also the possibility that the lawsuit won’t be settled before the 2022 general election.
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