No casinos, anti-gambling companies fight to keep gambling contract locked
No Casino and a group of South Florida businessmen have joined the legal fight to defend a district court ruling overturning the 30-year gambling pact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida.
The Seminole Tribe is appealing the decision and asking for an immediate suspension, which would allow it to legally continue the first sports betting operations in Florida that it launched on November 1. The pact also authorized the tribe to build new casinos on their property and to offer games such as craps and roulette that were previously illegal in Florida.
Around noon on Wednesday, the tribe’s lawyers filed a brief with the appeals court to refute the arguments of its critics. His key point in the brief is that if he is to end his sports betting operations and other gambling extensions allowed in the pact, he will lose money and jobs, just like Floridians.
“Without a stay, the tribe will suffer an assault on its sovereignty, and hundreds of tribal jobs and vendors related to sports betting, craps and roulette will be lost, injuring hundreds of Floridians and their families,” said the memory of the tribe. “In addition, tens of millions of dollars in investment will be compromised and the people of Florida will lose nearly $ 40 million per month in tribal payments.” Payments to the state of Florida – guaranteed at $ 2.5 billion over the first five years of the 30-year deal – were arranged in the gambling pact approved by state lawmakers in the spring and overturned last week by a US district court.
The tribe also argues that the United States Department of the Interior which gave its tacit approval to the Gaming Pact in August without actually granting its approval did not sufficiently defend the interests of the tribe when it defended the pact in front of the courts.
âThe litigation strategy and arguments of the federal defendants (or lack thereof) demonstrate on a practical level that they do not adequately represent the tribe,â the tribe’s brief states. âPerhaps the most striking evidence is the district court’s significant and outward frustration with the federal defendants’ litigation strategy. The district court said during the hearing on the motions that it was “confused” by the contentious position of the federal defendants that they did not need to deal with the arguments on the merits. “
No Casinos, an anti-gambling nonprofit, Monterra MF, LLC, a Broward County company and businessmen Armando Codina, James carr and Norman Braman, who claim gambling near their businesses will degrade and devalue their properties, filed an amici curiae complaint on Tuesday evening to oppose the tribe’s request for suspension.
They join two South Florida pari-mutuel establishments in opposing the issuance of an emergency stay, for different reasons. No Casinos, Monterra, Codina, Carr and Braman would like to keep illegal sports betting, while pari-mutuels want to see it legalized in order to participate, freed from the monopoly granted to the Tribe in the pact.
“The interests of the game [the pari-mutuels] support the expansion of the game as long as they are allowed to enjoy it alongside the Seminole Tribe. The opponents of the game [No Casinos and its allies] oppose the expansion of gambling in the state, in accordance with the Florida Constitution, even if it occurs on tribal lands, âstates the brief filed by No Casinos and its allies.
Both groups sued US Home Secretary Deb Haaland, whose department oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which allowed the pact to unfold in August without actually approving it. The groups argue that the pact violates India’s gambling regulations. District Judge for the District of Columbia Dabney friedrich accepted and canceled the pact on November 22.
The Seminole Tribe was not a party to the lawsuit, although they attempted to join as an intervener, claiming sovereign immunity in a way that could have invalidated the litigation, court records show. Instead, Home Office lawyers defended the pact.
John sowinski, president of No Casinos, told the Phoenix in a statement provided on Tuesday that the tribe should immediately stop its sports betting operations, which it considers “illegal gambling.” He noted that the tribe chose to launch the very first Florida statewide sports betting operation on November 1 despite an ongoing litigation and did not discontinue it despite Judge Friedrich’s order. The tribe argued in its brief on Wednesday that it was not a party to the lawsuits against Haaland and that it was not directly governed by the judge’s order but by the authority given to it when the legislature of Florida ratified the pact in May.
No casino, Monterra, Codina, Carr and Braman want the sports betting and other gaming extensions allowed in the Gaming Pact to be closed permanently – except with future permission from voters in Florida, as required by the 2018 constitutional amendment titled ” Voter Control of games of chance â, then known as Amendment 3.
The amici brief they filed Tuesday night urges the appeals court to uphold the district court’s order quashing the pact and dismiss the tribe’s request for provisional suspension.
“A suspension would seriously prejudice opponents of gambling and interested parties in a similar situation by allowing illegal and widespread forms of gambling close to their commercial interests,” the amici brief states.
Further, he argues that the pact itself and the tribe’s gambling expansions violate the will and public interest of the voters in Florida who passed the Constitutional Amendment on Gambling Control in 2018.
“In essence, the Seminole Tribe argues that the public interest is of no consequence, even when an agreement to expand the game [in the disputed compact] is clearly in violation of Florida law which gives voters the exclusive right to approve or reject expansion of the game, âthe brief said. “A suspension would effectively allow the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe to circumvent this constitutional requirement to the detriment of opponents of the game and many others.”
The Washington, DC District Judge rescinded the pact on Nov. 22, ruling it violated Indian federal gambling laws. The tribe, continuing to accept sports betting, requested a stay of this order, which Friedrich denied, and filed an opinion that it would appeal to a three-judge appeal board, where it again requested a suspension.
The two pari-mutuel facilities that prevailed for the pact to be deemed illegal also want the court of appeal to refuse the tribe a suspension and confirm Judge Friedrich’s decision. These are the Magic City Casino and the Bonita Springs Poker Room, which under the pact would not be able to participate in future sports betting unless permitted to do so under the auspices of the 30-year monopoly of the Seminole tribe.
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