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Legal battle over Florida sports betting reaches state supreme court

The legal dispute over online sports betting in Florida has indeed reached the state’s Supreme Court.

Two pari-mutuel companies, West Flagler Associates and Bonita Fort Myers Corp., have submitted a petition to the court, seeking to halt the implementation of sports betting.

This online betting was authorized by a compact agreed upon by the Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. The companies argue that this compact violates an amendment from 2018, which mandates voter approval for any gambling expansion except on tribal land.

  • READ: Florida Cracks Down On Daily Fantasy Sports Operators

  • The compact indeed allows the Seminole Tribe to offer sports betting through devices across the state, with bets being processed on tribal servers.

    David Romanik, an attorney representing the companies, stated that “the compact is clearly unconstitutional, and the governor had no authority to enter into it.”

    He expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would agree and prevent its implementation.

    On the other hand, both the state and the Seminole Tribe argue that this compact is legal and does not violate any amendments. They assert that it represents an exercise of the state’s authority over gaming on tribal land.

    State Attorney General Ashley Moody supports this viewpoint by stating that “the compact is an agreement for both Florida and the Seminole Tribe.”

    It’s important to clarify that the legality of the compact has already been determined by federal courts.

    In May, a lawsuit filed against the compact by the pari-mutuel companies challenging it in state court was dismissed by a judge in Washington, D.C.

    Nevertheless, legal experts suggest that the challenge at the state level could potentially cause delays in implementing sports betting in Florida.

    It may take months for the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether or not they will review the case, and if they do, the legal proceedings could extend over years.

    “This is a matter, and it remains uncertain how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule,” stated John Lockwood, an attorney based in Tallahassee.

    However, one thing is certain: this litigation will inevitably result in a postponement of sports betting launched in Florida.
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