Florida Supreme Court keeps Seminole Gaming Compact intact

Gambling and law concept, playing cards, money, dices and wooden judge gavel
'Quo warranto is not, and has never been, the proper vehicle to obtain a declaration as to the substantive constitutionality of an enacted law.'

The Florida Supreme Court has rejected a bid by a pair of pari-mutuels to strike down the Seminole Gaming Compact, which allows the Seminole Tribe to conduct sports betting.

West Flagler Associates, which owns Magic City Casino in Miami and Bonita Springs Poker Room in Southwest Florida, has so far failed in its lawsuit in federal court to halt the compact, sealed in 2021 between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

“This is a major victory for the people of the State of Florida, who can count on billions of dollars over the coming years to fund important state needs,” Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said. “Floridians and visitors can enjoy statewide sports betting and expanded casino games, now and into the future.  And it means the Seminole Tribe of Florida can have confidence in the future.”

A lower court initially struck down the sports betting portion of the compact, which allowed the Tribe to offer betting on its online app, even if customers weren’t on Seminole lands, which federal law requires. An appellate court, though, overturned the ruling and the Tribe started to offer sports betting again in Florida last Fall. The U.S. Supreme Court is still considering whether to take up an appeal.

When the sports betting came back online, West Flagler Associates, which hadn’t previously sued in state court to block the compact, appealed directly to the Florida Supreme Court, asserting that Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority in signing the deal.

But in its ruling Thursday, the court found that “quo warranto,” the Latin phrase for the reasoning behind the petition filed by West Flagler Associates, “is not, and has never been, the proper vehicle to obtain a declaration as to the substantive constitutionality of an enacted law. For that reason, we deny the petition because the relief that Petitioners seek is beyond what the writ of quo warranto provides.”

The 11-page opinion was written by Justice Meredith Sasso for a unanimous court. Sasso noted that although West Flagler Associates cited a case in 2009 when the Legislature challenged then-Gov. Charlie Crist’s move to sign a compact without getting legislative approval, that doesn’t mean a similar challenge can be made on the current compact.

That case involved a challenge of a Governor’s authority, while West Flager Associates is not just challenging DeSantis’ authority, but asking the court to declare the compact in violation of the state constitution. West Flagler Associates argued the compact expanded gambling, contradicting an amendment passed by voters in 2018 requiring any expansion of gaming to be approved by voters in the future.

“That factual background distinguishes the case from Petitioners’ challenge here, as Petitioners challenge the substance of the agreement reached by the Governor and ratified by the Legislature rather than the bare ability to act,” Sasso wrote.

Gray Rohrer


  • Josh Green

    March 21, 2024 at 12:58 pm

    How is a state enforced monopoly like this legal?

    • Josh Green

      March 21, 2024 at 12:59 pm

      And more importantly, how much money did the Seminole tribe put in DeSantis’ pocket?

      • eric cartman

        March 21, 2024 at 2:46 pm

        dumbest comment i’ve read all day. state enforced monopoly. lol. i heard AOC say that rico is not a crime.

        • Josh Green

          March 21, 2024 at 9:27 pm

          The state has granted the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to operating casino’s in Florida.
          How is that not a state enforced monopoly?

  • R Russell

    March 22, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    Watch Jo and Meka on MSNBC-they know all the facts (Bullshit)

Comments are closed.


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