Judge Dismisses First Florida Sports Betting Lawsuit, More Battles Loom

Posted on October 19, 2021
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Written By on October 19, 2021

A district judge dismissed a lawsuit that aimed to stop Florida sports betting going ahead under the control of the Seminole Tribe.

Northern Florida District Judge Allen Winsor published a 20-page ruling Monday that dismissed the challenge brought by West Flagler Associates, the owner of two Florida pari-mutuels.

What did the judge say?

The pari-mutuels argued that Seminole control of the FL sports betting market was damaging to their businesses.

However, Winsor said West Flagler could not challenge Florida’s revised gambling compact because it had not sufficiently proven harm.

“The pari-mutuels lack standing to sue the governor or the secretary because their actions are not fairly traceable to any alleged harm,” Winsor wrote. “In addition, the requested declaratory and injunctive relief would provide no legal or practical redress to the pari-mutuels’ injuries.”

Important victory for Seminole Tribe

The suit named FL Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Julie Brown as defendants.

“This is an important first legal victory for the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe and we look forward to future legal decisions in our favor,” said Seminole Tribe spokesperson Gary Bitner.

More battles to come in Florida sports betting

The failed challenge is one of three lawsuits against FL sports betting.

West Flagler has another case filed in Washington DC. This one names the US Department of the Interior and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as defendants since they gave final approval to the compact.

The case will have a hearing on November 5.

How will Florida sports betting case be decided?

That argument centers on exactly where a mobile bet is placed: is it where the bettor is situated or where the server that processes the bet is situated?

Two Florida businessmen and anti-gambling group No Casinos also filed a lawsuit in Washington DC.

The Seminole Tribe legally could take bets beginning last Friday. However, the tribe might not launch a product until December, as it builds out its sports betting product.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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