Florida Parimutuels Call for a Stop to Online Sports Betting in the State

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has been embroiled in a legal battle over its recently relaunched sports betting app. The Supreme Court was asked to intervene by attorneys representing two pari-mutuel companies, West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp, as the tribe quietly announced the resumption of online sports betting activities.

Concerns have been raised over the app’s compliance with a gambling deal between the state and the tribe. The two companies are arguing that this deal violates a 2018 constitutional amendment, which stipulates that casino gambling must be approved by voters. As the legal battle continues, the companies have requested the Supreme Court to suspend sports betting provisions of the law.

The attorneys expressed urgency, claiming that the tribe’s actions could result in substantial financial gain at the expense of the state, going against the Florida Constitution and undermining public decision-making. This development marks the latest chapter in a protracted legal dispute that dates back to 2021 when the gambling deal between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe was signed.

The Supreme Court’s involvement in the matter is currently pending, with both companies stating that the tribe’s expansion into online sports betting could have significant financial implications, endangering their business interests. The saga has also seen involvement from various legal bodies, including a separate federal lawsuit.

The focus of the legal dispute revolves around the approval of mobile sports wagering statewide, which, according to the deal, would be exclusively conducted by the tribe. While initially only permitting sports betting at its casinos, the tribe recently announced plans to open online betting to a limited number of existing Florida customers to test its platform.

Despite the various legal hurdles, it remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will approach this complex legal issue in the midst of ongoing developments surrounding the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting app.