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Magic City Casino Owners Sue Florida Betting Compact

On Friday, the owners of Miami’s Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room created some buzz in the state of Florida. The owners sued the Florida gaming compact between the state and Seminole tribe because it violated federal law.

There have been numerous issues with the gaming compact since it was passed because the tribe was given a monopoly over sports betting. The lawsuit was filed on Friday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida by West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation.

Sports Betting Under the Compact

Governor DeSantis and the Seminole tribe signed a gaming compact earlier in the year. Under the deal, sports betting will become legal in the state on October 15.

The compact stated that the tribe had complete jurisdiction over sports betting under its Hard Rock Gaming brand. All bets would need to go through servers on tribal land, according to the compact.

If the tribe chose to work with other operators, these companies would have to use Hard Rock Gaming technology. For example, if DraftKings crafted a deal with the Seminoles, the back end of the sportsbook in Florida would utilize Hard Rock technology.

Florida has the potential to be a substantial sports betting market. The state is heavily populated, loaded with tourists, and it includes multiple professional sports franchises. The financial splits between operators and the Seminoles would also heavily favor the tribe.

Magic City Casino Owners File Lawsuit

Many parties have complained about the lawsuit, but the Magic City Casino owners put anger into action. Southwest Parimutuels, which consists of Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room, has claimed that the compact violates the federal Indian Regulatory Gaming Act.

It also conflicts with the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act because it allows betting outside of tribal land. The lawsuit states that servers on tribal land do not mean bets are occurring on the property.

This issue has been a common theme for tribal nations and sports betting throughout the United States. Magic City is trying to deem the compact unlawful and expand sports betting access to other operators. The ruling for this issue has varied by state.

Under the compact, Magic City would not be able to offer sports betting unless it was through the Seminole Tribe. The Southwest Parimutuels would lose a lot of revenue by entering an agreement with the tribe.

However, if the lawsuit favors Southwest Parimutuels, online betting would be scrapped in the state outside of tribal land. This would cost the facilities millions in revenue.

Southwest Parimutuels is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but leaders are taking a chance to shut down the compact.

Isadore Havenick, Vice President for Public Affairs for Southwest Parimutuels, discussed the lawsuit with the Miami Herald.

He said, “While we are fully supportive of Gov. DeSantis and his work to secure a new Seminole Compact, the lawsuit focuses on a very narrow aspect of the Compact…the legality of off reservation and online sports wagering.”

Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming, is not worried about the lawsuit. He believes the compact will be approved at the federal level. Additionally, the legislature supports the compact because it’s very lucrative for the state.

The federal Department of the Interior must acknowledge the compact by the middle of August.

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