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Magic City and Bonita Springs file new motion against Deb Haaland in Florida gambling dispute

Two Florida betting operators have filed a new motion in federal district court, looking to block online sports betting in the state.

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Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room made the move against US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, asking the court to omit the sports betting section of the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

This comes after a long legal battle from betting operators looking to block the tribe’s stranglehold on sports betting, who under the state’s current plan would be granted a monopoly on all bets placed in Florida when it goes live in October.

Governor Ron DeSantis negotiated a “gambling compact” with tribal leaders which was passed by lawmakers in May, leading Magic City and Bonita springs to file a federal lawsuit in July challenging the deal’s legitimacy.

According to this agreement, anyone in Florida over the age of 21 will be able to place and collect online wagers on sporting events “via the internet [or] web application” from anywhere in Florida from 15 October.

However, all transactions would pass through servers located on tribal land in a move intended to bypass both federal and state law.

This forms the basis of the two operator’s arguments, who allege it illegally violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which requires that any state-sanctioned gambling occur on tribal land.

Haaland became entangled in this whole affair when a letter was sent in August from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland of the Department of the Interior to Chairman Osceola of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, tacitly condoning the agreement.

“As a result, the Compact is considered to have been approved by the Secretary,” the document states.

This latest move will likely delay the launch of online sports betting in the state as the court will hear oral arguments on 5 November on the motion for summary judgment, though according to tribal representative Gary Bitner “an exact launch date for mobile sports betting in Florida has not been announced.”

 
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