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Dispute over sports betting in Florida now goes to the state Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The groups that sued to stop the Seminole Tribe from offering sports betting in Florida have now taken their case to the Florida Supreme Court.

West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation filed a petition Tuesday to get the state Supreme Court to stop the Tribe from introducing online sports betting as part of the 2021 pact the Tribe made with the state of Florida has.

The plaintiffs are suing Gov. Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. They say DeSantis exceeded his authority by approving the compact and claims it violates a voter-approved 2018 constitutional amendment. It requires that any expansion of gambling in the state must come through a constitutional amendment, except on tribal land.

DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe argued that the contract followed the change because the servers that would handle the online sports betting would be located on tribal land.

The plaintiffs originally tried to get the federal courts to stop the pact, saying that U.S. Interior Secretary Deborah Haaland should not have signed the pact under the Indian Gambling Regulation Act. But in June, a federal appeals court ruled that Haaland acted appropriately.

In addition to the Florida Supreme Court lawsuit, the plaintiffs are asking the federal appeals court to grant a stay while it attempts to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

West Flagler Associates until recently operated the Magic City Casino in Miami. Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation operates the Bonita Springs Poker Room.

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