Seminole Tribe wins parlay: Appeals court OKs Compact, clearing way for sports betting in Florida
Mobile sports betting to face scrutiny.

betting bet sport phone gamble laptop concept
'If it takes effect then everything is back on the table for the state and the Tribe.'

Florida’s agreement with the Seminole Tribe to allow sports betting throughout the state on online apps is legal, a federal appeals court ruled.

The opinion from Judge Robert Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., overturned a lower court ruling throwing out the Gaming Compact on the grounds it approved gambling outside of tribal lands in violation of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). But the IGRA doesn’t ban gambling outside of tribal grounds, Wilkins ruled, it merely authorizes gambling on their grounds.

“IGRA does not prohibit a gaming compact — which is, at bottom, an agreement between a tribe and a state — from discussing other topics, including those governing activities outside Indian lands,” Wilkins wrote. “The District Court erred by reading into the Compact a legal effect it does not (and cannot) have, namely, independently authorizing betting by patrons located outside of the Tribe’s lands.”

The ruling means sports betting on the Tribe’s app is legal again in Florida and the Tribe can restart its payments to the state, unless West Flagler Associates, the company that owns Magic City Casino, a parimutuel in Miami that challenged the law, appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Barry Richard, counsel for the Tribe, noted that the U.S. Supreme Court takes few cases. He said the ruling clears the way for sports betting in Florida, as well as the parimutuels that inked deals with the Tribe to promote sports betting on their app in their casinos.

“If it takes effect then everything is back on the table for the state and the Tribe and for all of the other parimutuels that entered into agreements with the Tribe,” Richard said.

The Gaming Compact was negotiated between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Tribe, was approved by the Legislature in May 2021. It received federal approval later that year. The Tribe had set up its Sportsbook betting app and was making payments to the state as part of its $2.5 billion payout over five years per the Compact when a federal judge threw out the agreement in November 2021.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled it violated the IGRA because it authorized sports betting on non-Tribal lands. But that holding was overturned by Friday’s appellate court opinion.

Still, Wilkins’ ruling leaves open the possibility for a challenge based on Florida law.

“Whether it is otherwise lawful for a patron to place bets from non-tribal land within Florida may be a question for that State’s courts, but it is not the subject of this litigation and not for us to decide,” Wilkins wrote.

Gray Rohrer


  • Dont Say FLA

    June 30, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    Rhonda says drag queens are evil but gambling is perfectly fine. Ohhhhh Kay.

  • Real Thomas Kaspar

    June 30, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Sports books are everywhere and The Florida Lottery is already legal . Great for the State every franchise will be more fun .

    • Dont Say FLA

      June 30, 2023 at 1:29 pm

      My goodness, Thomas. I hope nobody is gaming anywhere that any children could be forever damaged by seeing adults gambling.

      One would think parents could just keep their kids out of places where gambling happens, but according to Rhonda, the judgment of Florida’s parents cannot be trusted. Never. Not ever!

      Parents are not be trusted with their own children, no matter whether the children were wanted or were forced by the State of Florida.

  • Crypto Kid

    July 4, 2023 at 9:03 am

    this is huge news for Florida! Finally, after 2 years, the court have ruled that U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich judegment was bullshit to begin with. So many people have moved out of the state of Florida because there is no legalized sports betting. I am sure they will be all be flocking back now

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn