The situation with the legality and launch of sports betting in Florida is now described by many as a soap opera. Over the last weeks, many new parties have entered the dispute, and now, there’s a third group to the already-existing battle between the Seminole Tribe and pari-mutuel facilities. Several Florida businessmen and No Casinos have joined the legal fight to voice their opinion in the 30-year compact between the state and the tribe.
No Casinos and Its Allies Oppose Sports Betting
No Casinos is an anti-gambling, non-profit organization. The company, together with businessmen Norman Braman, Armando Codina, James Carr, as well as other businesses like Monterra MF, LLC, oppose sports betting in Florida entirely.
They claim that by allowing any form of gambling to take place near their businesses, the value of their properties will drop down, and they will be “degraded.” That is why they oppose the request of the tribe to stay by filing as amici curiae.
Even though they join pari-mutuel facilities in Florida in the fight against the Seminole Tribe, their ultimate goals are different. Pari-mutuel facilities want to legalize betting in the state, but more fairly so that they won’t lose revenue, as they claim. On the flip side, No Casinos wants the industry to be shut down for good.
The president of No Casinos, John Sowinski, issued a statement to The Phoenix, a media outlet, in which he said that all sports betting activities by the tribe should be terminated immediately. He considers them illegal and noted that the Seminoles decided to launch their betting app on November 1 even though litigation was pending. Moreover, it decided to proceed with offering sports betting after Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered them not to.
In a brief issued on Wednesday, the tribe stated that it is not governed by order of the judge directly. Instead, it is governed by the authority granted to it when the compact was ratified in May by the Florida Legislature.
The Allies Claim That Sports Betting Should Be Allowed if Voters Agree on it In the Future
Braman, Moterra, Carr, Codina, and No Casinos want all forms of sports betting that is authorized in the gambling compact to be shut down permanently. However, they do think that if Florida voters approve betting in the future, then it should be authorized. This topic is covered in the constitutional amendment of 2018, previously known as Amendment 3, and now titled “Voter Control of Gambling.”
In a brief filed by the amici on late Tuesday, they claim that pari-mutuels support gambling expansion, just as long as they can enjoy it side-by-side with the tribe. On the other hand, No Casinos and its allies are against gambling expansion, even on tribal lands, because gambling is not consistent with the Constitution of Florida.
That is why the amici’s brief urges the court of appeals to get in line with the district court’s order, strike down the compact, and deny the tribe’s stay. As the brief expands, if gambling stays, that would lead to massive injuries to gambling opponents and all parties that share the same or similar interests as it would allow unlawful gambling forms to take place near their business interests.
Furthermore, the tribe’s argument is that public interests will not have any consequences, which is not true as gambling expansion is in direct violation of the law in Florida that give people the right to choose whether they want to reject or accept the expansion. By allowing a stay, the tribe and the state will “circumvent that constitutional requirement” to the harm of all opponents of gambling and other parties that share similar interests, the amici adds.