Seminoles Withholds Payment to Florida Following the Sports Betting Case Appeal

Last year, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state amended a gaming compact that would earn the state more revenue from sports betting at Seminole casinos.

The amendment faced a lot of resistance, including several filed lawsuits. Following a recent federal judge's ruling, Seminole has suspended paying Florida.

This was reported by Politico Florida earlier this week and has been confirmed by Seminole Gaming spokesman Gary Bitner. Gary noted that the tribal nation, Governor DeSantis, and other state officials are talking about the U.S. District Judge Friedrich's November decision that nullified the gaming compact in November last year.

The amended gaming compact gave the tribal nation exclusive rights to offer sports gambling on its online app and on-site sportsbooks. The tribe was supposed to partner with pari-mutuel gaming operators to allow other businesses to participate in offering sports betting.

Unfortunately, two pari-mutuel operators filed a lawsuit. The case file explained that having online sports betting violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The act controls tribal gaming activities in the country.

Bonita Springs Poker Room and the Magic City Casino filed the case in Washington DC, challenging the Interior Department about the approval of the amended compact. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act argues that it does not permit tribal nations to offer services outside their lands.

Therefore, offering sports gambling on mobile apps violates the act, which Friedrich agreed with.

The tribal nation began offering sports betting through the Hard Rock Sportsbook app on November 1. Three weeks later, Friedrich overruled the amended gaming compact. This led to the tribal nation filing an appeal.

In early December, Seminoles closed its sports betting app. The appealed case is at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, it is not clear when the decision will be made.

Florida Would Have Earned Billions From Seminole Compact

Sports betting was not the only thing included in the amended compact. The state and the tribal nation had agreed that Seminoles would offer roulette and dice games and build three gaming facilities on the 500-acre land 20 miles north of Miami.

The additional gaming rights earned the state not less than $2.5 billion in revenue for the first five years. The tribe would have paid a minimum of $400 million each year and up to $6 billion for the first ten years after the amended compact.

However, this has been held until the tribe gets its answers about sports betting. Meanwhile, the tribe will continue paying its original revenue based on the 2021 gaming compact.

Florida Case Is Unique From New York's

Seminole is not the first tribal nation to withhold funds from a state. In New York, the Seneca Nation of Indians withheld funds too. The difference is the reason why Seneca withheld funds.

The tribal nation and New York had disagreed on whether their gaming compact asked the tribe to continue paying when a mutual option became operative in 2017. The federal courts and arbitrators ruled in favor of New York.

New York has received over $550 million after removing a freeze on Seneca's accounts. The state plans to use $400 to pay part of the $600 million it promised to build Buffalo Bills.

The stadium will use around $1.4 billion to complete. Meanwhile, New York will spend about $150million on the Western New York communities.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.