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This Week in Gambling: Online gambling fallout across America

2 December 2021

This week's gambling news focuses on the fallout for American online gambling as a result of the Florida sports betting fight involving the Seminole Tribe. The decision of a Federal judge in this case could have precedent setting consequences for online casinos, sports betting and Tribal gaming.

After a week of speculation, Florida sports betting and online gambling has come to a halt following a decision from Federal Judge Friedrich in Washington, DC. Her ruling finds that the state compact with the Seminole Tribe is a violation of federal Indian gaming law, and that could affect online gambling in America.

This decision effectively puts an end to sports betting in the state, as it invalidates the agreement between Florida and Seminoles Gaming. The Judge based her ruling on a state mandate that all gambling must occur on Tribal land. Since the agreement between the state and the Seminoles allowed for mobile sports betting and online gambling, this decision could be precedent setting when it comes to the legal aspects of “where” a bet takes place online.

In the original agreement, bettors could use their mobile phones to place bets from anywhere in the state, so long as the servers were located on Seminole Tribal land. But Judge Friedrich found that agreement was not acceptable. She stated “When a federal statute authorizes an activity only at specific locations, parties may not evade that limitation by ‘deeming’ their activity to occur where it, as a factual matter, does not.”

Despite this decision, Seminoles sports betting continued to accept sports wagers and filed a “motion for stay pending appeal”. The Judge, however, rejected their arguments. Even though the Seminoles sports betting and online gambling appeal was denied, they continue to operate their mobile sports app and to accept bets. On Thanksgiving day, they also filed an emergency motion with the Circuit Court of Appeals to have their sports betting reinstated.

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