WASHINGTON D.C., DC — An appellate court in the District of Columbia has denied the Seminole Tribe of Florida to continue sports betting within the state while they appeal a federal ruling that essentially ends their gaming compact.
Late Friday night a three-judge panel decided to deny the Tribe's emergency motion for a stay. Originally, the Seminole Tribe last week requested a stay from United States District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, who initially struck down the compact.
Judge Friedrich was also unpersuaded, stating that the Tribe's motion raised “serious legal questions” and failed to show the previous decision would cause them irreparable harm.
As a result of the denial, Hard Rock Sportsbook will temporarily put a hold on operations of its mobile app in Florida, Seminole Tribe spokesperson Gary Bitner said in a statement.
"Account balances for all current players will be refunded as requested," Bitner wrote.
"Despite the decision, the Seminole Tribe looks forward to working with the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice to aggressively defend the validity of the 2021 Compact before the Appeals Court, which has yet to rule on the merits of the 2021 Compact."
The Seminole Tribe's second filing comes after Judge Friedrich found the multibillion-dollar agreement between the state and tribe allowing online sports betting violated a federal rule.
That rule is the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which does not allow bets to be placed off tribal land even if the servers processing those bets are on tribe property.
The sports betting law is also in violation of the state's own constitution, according to Friedrich. The law violates amendment three of the state constitution, which voters passed in 2018. It gives Floridians the right to vote on issues related to gambling that occurs off tribal land.
According to Friedrich, the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, received a copy of the gaming compact in June. However, since they took no action in 45 days, they automatically defaulted and approved the compact.
Friedrich said Florida lawmakers could come up with a new gaming compact that allows online gaming solely on Indian lands. Alternatively, Floridians could also authorize online sports betting if the topic is placed on the ballot in next year's election.