Seminole Tribe appeals court decision against Gaming Compact
A new Seminole Compact was supposed to give Florida's economy a big boost. Image via Facebook.

hard rock
A federal judge's decision could do irrreparable financial damage, Tribe chairman Marcellus Osceola argues.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is appealing a ruling that throws out the Gaming Compact with the state of Florida.

The Tribe late Tuesday filed its notice of appeal in federal courts.

Marcellus Osceola, Seminole Tribe chairman, in a court filing maintains the agreement negotiated with Gov. Ron DeSantis should be considered valid.

“The Tribe would be irreparably injured if it is required to cease online sports betting pending the outcome of an appeal,” Osceola wrote. “The Tribe would immediately lose the millions in online sports betting revenues the Tribe is generating. As a result, many of these jobs and outsourced position would be lost.”

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich on Monday took issue with online sports betting being contained in the Compact and the Seminole Tribe holding the exclusive ability to oversee such gaming in the state. The judge said the deal violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the compact should be vacated by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

But Osceola argues its unfair at this point to strip the right away from the Tribe after tens of millions have been invested in a platform, Seminole Hard Rock Digital, that went online Nov. 1.

“To date, over $25 million has been spent to develop the Tribe’s online sportsbook,” Osceola wrote. “This amount is anticipated to grow to over $45 million by the end of the year.”

SHRD already has 237 full-time employees on its own with 30 more hired and ready to start.

The Tribe filed a motion to stay Friedrich’s decision, and filed a notice of appeal in Washington, D.C. Circuit Court. “The Tribe further moves for expedited consideration of this Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal, and respectfully requests that the Court resolve this Motion no later than November 24, 2021 so that, if necessary, the Tribe can promptly seek relief in the D.C. Circuit,” a 22-page motion reads.

That document argues the order could deliver irreparable harm to the Tribe. It also suggests a strong public interest in staying the decision as the Tribe has committed to paying Florida $2.5 billion over five years as part of the Compact.

Attorneys for the Tribe also argue motions to dismiss a case brought by West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation in August should have been granted. Instead, the federal court ruled for the plaintiffs in those suits. Notably, that case was against Haaland, and the Tribe could not be joined in the case as a matte of sovereign immunity.

Seminole motion by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Charles

    November 23, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    I believe the amount to be paid to florida in your article is incorrect. It should be billions, not millions. May want to check

    • Greg Karan

      November 24, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      It is billions over 5 years

Comments are closed.


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