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U.S. Supreme Court will not hear opposition to $2.5bn Tribal deal

Seminole Tribe wins in court case

The U.S. Supreme Court will not listen to opposition towards a $2.5bn gambling deal made by the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe.

Monday heard the last fleeting plead from West Flagler Associates Ltd. and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. against the “Seminole Gaming Compact.” Justice Meredith Sasso would hear the appeal but replied sternly across an eleven-page document before today’s court orders set the deal’s fate in stone.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida applauds today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decline consideration of the case involving the Tribe’s Gaming Compact with the State of Florida,” tribal representative Gary Bitner said.

Judge backs Seminole Gaming deal

The Seminole Gaming Compact deal was created in 2021. Republican state governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law with Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola.

It allows sports betting to occur anywhere in Florida only if the gambling activity is routed through servers housed on tribal land. Other prospective gambling outfits and operators in the state were not happy about the exclusivity of the deal.

West Flagler Associates Ltd. and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., a Florida-based casino and poker room, started the argument against the deal. Their argument was that it violated the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and Florida’s Amendment 3.

The two parties argued vehemently that the deal breached the voted-upon Amendment 3 (2018), which requires a state referendum on gambling expansion.

The Seminole Tribe retorted with an amicus brief stating, “The Legislature has authority to deem the initiation of online sports wagering to occur in one location or another as a matter of law, and Amendment 3 by its plain language did not alter or remove that authority. In fact, it preserved it.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a brief on behalf of the DeSantis camp and said “Sports betting is not ‘casino gambling’ as that term is defined in the Florida Constitution, because it is not the ‘type of game’ typically found in casinos.

So West Flagler Associates Ltd. and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp.’s case has fallen flat, with a resounding denial. Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz, justices Charles Canady, John Couriel, Jamie Grosshans, Renatha Francis, and Justice Jorge LaBarga all agreed with the outcome.

“It (the ruling) means members of the Seminole Tribe and all Floridians can count on a bright future made possible by the compact,” Bitner concluded.

Image: Ideogram.

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