February 19, 2024 3 min read


Federal Rules Greenlight Florida-Style Tribal Gaming Compacts

The updated legislation will provide tribes with much-needed legal clarity, paving the way for enhanced cooperation between Tribal nations and the federal authority

In a significant move, the Department of the Interior has announced the finalization of federal rules affirming the legality of Florida-style “hub-and-spoke” tribal gaming compacts. These compacts, governed by the Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act, play a pivotal role in the economic development of Tribal nations and have been a focal point for negotiations between Tribes and states.

Updated Legislation Aims to Avoid Contentious Issues

The modifications to 25 C.F.R. Part 293, which governs the review and approval of Tribal-state gaming compacts, clarify the Department’s criteria when approving these compacts. This newest update aims to provide clear guidance on allowable negotiation topics between Tribes and states, eliminating ambiguity and streamlining the negotiation process.

Important terms related to gaming compacts have received better definitions, reducing potential areas of contention. The new regulations also explicitly outline when the Department must review a gaming compact, ensuring a more transparent and predictable review process. Assistant secretary for Indian affairs Bryan Newland remarked that the update upheld the government’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Tribal Nations.

A key part of that is our obligation to support Tribal Nations as they work to revitalize communities by opening businesses and creating jobs that strengthen their economic self-sufficiency.

Bryan Newland, assistant secretary for Indian affairs

These updated rules received extensive input from Tribal nations, with two listening sessions and seven formal consultation sessions held to gather insights and recommendations. Written comments from Tribes and the public further helped refine the new regulations, reflecting the Department’s commitment to collaboration and responsiveness to Tribal input.

Florida’s Troubles Proved the Need for Better Laws

The Department of the Interior’s drive to clarify tribal gambling regulations likely aims to avoid situations like Florida’s gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida, which faced a prolonged legal battle. While the Seminole Tribe relaunched its Hard Rock Bets platform in 2023, the disruptions significantly hindered sports betting’s introduction to the Sunshine State.

West Flagler Associates, the party responsible for the lawsuit, openly questioned the Department of Interior, implying that the Seminole’s compact violated the law. The company’s latest legal maneuver was a writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court, hoping to overturn the current verdict. If successful, the legal battle may extend into 2025, threatening the Seminole Tribe’s substantial investments.

With the new rules set to be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, Tribal nations engaging in gaming compacts will benefit from increased clarity and certainty. The move aligns with broader initiatives under the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America agenda, which aims to deploy significant investments to help develop Tribal communities.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *