June 18, 2024 3 min read

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Florida’s 2021 Gambling Compact with Seminole Tribe Upheld by Supreme Court

The compact, embroiled in legal disputes from the start, faced initial challenges based on claims that it breached the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)

The Supreme Court of the United States denied hearing an appeal against Florida’s agreement giving exclusive control over online sports betting to the Seminole Tribe. The expectations are that this move will boost the state’s gambling revenue. 

The Supreme Court’s Decision Paves the Way for Expanded Earnings

On June 17, the Supreme Court rejected West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp.’s petition which was against a 2021 compact between the Seminole tribe and the state government of Florida, reported the Associated Press. The compact, which was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after being approved by the legislature in Florida, allows the Seminole tribe to operate online sports betting statewide through servers located on tribal lands. This move is likely to have a significant impact on overall earnings from gambling within the state of Florida. 

The compact, which has been a subject of legal contention since its inception, was initially challenged on the grounds that it violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Opponents argued that allowing bets to be placed off tribal lands via online platforms violates the Act’s requirement that gambling occurs on tribal territory. Despite these objections, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit previously ruled in favor of the compact, a decision now left standing by the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case.

Florida’s Lucrative Gambling Compact Is Set to Fund Environmental Initiatives

Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted against the dismissal of the case because he thought there were more issues to look into but, unfortunately, his only vote did not suffice to bring the claim before the whole court. 

With the state of Florida having reported $357 million in revenue between December 2023 and May 2024, the compact is anticipated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Most of this money will go towards environmental conservation projects — a priority area for state leaders. A significant portion will also be used to support land acquisition, upland management, and invasive species removal, and the Resilient Florida Grant Program that seeks to safeguard communities against storm damage and flooding events.

This ruling marks a big win for the Seminole Tribe as well as the state of Florida. The Seminole Tribe’s spokesperson celebrated the decision, emphasizing that it ensures a prosperous future for both the tribe and the state’s residents. 

The ruling also sets a precedent that could influence similar arrangements in other states, potentially paving the way for broader implementation of online gambling facilitated by tribal servers.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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