The gambling industry’s future in Florida remains to be seen. The Seminole Tribe has the most to lose, and Florida’s economy and sports screen can also be affected. The history of this case is long, but the end of the process is in sight. And once the case gets resolved and the matter is clear, citizens of the Sunshine State could have the most to gain.
History so far
The current situation began in 1979 when the Florida Seminole Tribe was permitted to open the first licensed casino on their tribal grounds. Fast-forward to the next thirty years, Florida’s state sports scene is thriving, with sports betting being a part of it, alongside horse race betting, card rooms, and other parimutuel facilities. West Flagler was the person to file a suit with the US District Court of Columbia. In September 2021, he argued that an online app allowing users to bet via mobile and online violates the older agreement, as gambling would happen outside of the designated native land. The first ruling was positive, but the native Seminole tribes filed a complaint, overruling the initial decision. This led to West Flagler scheduling a rehearing, but his request was rejected. To add to the complexity, Florida’s parimutuels group filed another complaint to stop the Seminole online app for sports betting to the Supreme Court.
The current state of Florida’s gambling scene
For players who wish to enjoy online casinos, the only legal and safe option remains with registered casinos outside of Florida. The safest and recommended options in Florida remain trusty sites with a proven track record. Until the legal proceedings are over and we know the definitive answer, sticking to the tried and tested online casinos will remain the only option for players from Florida. Players can also visit registered parimutuel facilities, horse racing tracks, and gamble in the Seminole tribe’s registered casinos.
IGRA and UIGEA
IGRA stands for Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and UIGEA is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. West Flagler used both for his case to argue for his petition. His first example was California v. Iipay Nation, where the state of California prevented the local tribe from opening an online casino. His citing of IGRA was the 2014 case of Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, where all gambling must occur on Indian land and nowhere else. Should the current bill pass and the Seminole tribes gain more rights, they could offer online poker, gambling, casinos, keno, horse racing, and any other form of betting via online casinos and apps.
The possible future
West Flagler argues that a favorable ruling toward the Seminole tribe would give them preferential treatment. In Florida, its current parimutuel facilities offer poker, dominos, keno, and other games that could not compete with the online reach of a potential app and online gambling. The DC Circuit has argued that such a decision is constitutional and promotes further development of local tribes. A positive ruling could give players more options for gambling, but non-Indian businesses would have to adapt drastically.